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message 1: by Suzanne, moderator (new)

Suzanne Moore (suzeq) | 111 comments Mod
1. Shayndel “was overcome by the weight of what she had lost: mother, father, brother, friends, neighbors, comrades, lovers, landscapes.” Reflecting on her past Leonie remembers a vision in which “her own voice, [said:] yes to life, as miserable as it was.” Although loss and suffering are primary forces for each character, they still have remarkable resilience. How might the thoughts of what one has lost actually keep one going? What else does the book tell us about the resilience of the human spirit?

2. What is the significance of the book’s title? How can it be interpreted in various ways?

3. How do food and celebration play an important part in the novel? How is this ironic?

4. How do both Tirzah and Bryce’s similarities and their differences influence and enhance their love for each other? How do they both show how seemingly small gestures can have a great impact?

5. As Zorah’s feelings for Esther and Jacob change, she reflects that “the world was an instrument of destruction” but that “the opposite of destruction is creation.” How does this idea reflect the novel as a whole? Diamant also writes that “‘luck’ was just another word for ‘creation,’ which was a relentless as destruction.” What does this mean?

6. All of the characters have strengths that helped them to survive the war. How do their strengths and weaknesses influence each other? How might one person’s weakness help to develop another person’s strength?

7. “Everyone in Atlit had secrets… Most people managed to keep their secrets under control, concealed behind a mask of optimism or piety or anger. But there were an unfortunate few without a strategy or system for managing the past…” How do secrets play a role in all of the women’s experiences at the camp? How have each of them been shaped by secrets?

8. Discuss the theme of identity. How does it play an important role in the characters’ lives? Consider Esther and Jacob’s story, Shayndel’s memories of her skills as a fighter in contrast to the way others at the camp view her, Leonie’s past, etc.?
9. What does Tedi’s keen sense of smell symbolize? How does her sense of smell provide insights into the other characters?

10. How do the characters find surprising common ground despite seemingly impossible circumstances? Consider the relationships between Shayndel and Nathan, Leonie and Lotte, and Zorah and Esther, among others.

11. “Leonie’s skin was unblemished. She had not hidden in a Polish sewer or shivered in a Russian barn. She had not seen her parents shot. Atlit was her first experience of barracks and barbwire. She had survived the war without suffering hunger or thirst. There had been wine and hashish and a pink satin coverlet to muffle her terrors.” Discuss this passage. What does it say about the nature of fear and horror? How would you compare Leonie’s experiences during the war with those of her friends? How can internal and external horror be equally destructive?

12. How did you feel about Lotte’s story? Did the way it ended surprise you?

13. On their last night together each of the women has a vivid dream. How would you interpret these?

14. What did you think about the epilogue? Was it satisfying?

15. How would you compare Day After Night with other World War II-era novels that you’ve read?

16. What are some of your favorite passages from the book? What were some of the most difficult parts to read?

message 2: by Mary (new)

Mary | 9 comments Mod
So many deep questions!!!!
The fact that these women survived the awfulness that they each had to endure speaks of their will to survive against all odds. Deep down they all know that they can survive just about anything.
I really hadn't thought much about how things were for the Jewish community after the war. I knew they had lost a great deal--family, history, property, etc--but I guess, I just didn't really fathom how they literally had to start over with nothing -- no friends, family, community to support them as they had had before the war. Makes me feel like such a loser when I whine over little things.
And what were the Brits thinking when they transported these people by cattle car and sent them to the showers???? Honestly...................

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