by Anne Michaels
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Discussion Time: 2B January 13, 7:55-9:25
Discussion Facilitator: Phoebe (?)
Participant's Names:
-Rachel N
-Eric D
-Phoebe W
-Tyler B
-Kym D*
-Steve Str*

Ice Breaker: Did people like the book? Why or why not?

Clarifying Questions:
Did Jakob save Athos as much as Athos saved Jakob?
What is Ben's obsession with Jakob and what he has left behind in Greece?
What is Ben's connection with Jakob and also Greece?
On the final page, what does Ben decide?
Does Jakob die? What happens to him and Michaela?
Why does Petra run out on Ben? What did he do?
What's the significance of the title?

Characters:
Jakob Beer: The main character. His parents are murdered in their home by Nazis while Jakob was hiding in the wall. He goes on to live in Greece and later Toronto. He loves poetry and geology. His traumatic childhood haunts him constantly.
Athos: A Greek geologist who essentially adopts Jakob after finding him hiding in a bog. He brings Jakob to live with him on an island in Greece. He hides Jakob when the Nazis infiltrate Greece as well. He dies near the end of the first part of the book leaving Jakob devestated
Bella: Jakob's older sister. It is implied that she was murdered by Nazis, but is unclear whether she was killed in their home with her parents or in a concentration camp. She was an avid piano player and Jakob frequently reflects on her beautiful work and Beethoven obsession. It seems that Bella's death has had the greatest impact on Jakob. He frequently remarks about how she is still "with" him and has many flashbacks and daydreams that revolve around her.
Alex: Jakob's first wife. She is very impulsive and care-free which Jakob initially feels has a good impact on him. Eventually however, it becomes too much for him and they divorce.
Maurice and Irena: Jakob's friends while he lives in Toronto.
Michaela: Jakob's second wife, she is more thoughtful and they seem to have a better relationship.
Ben: The narrator of the second part of the book. He greatly admires Jakob's poetry. He eventually visits Jakob's former dwelling in Greece where he unearths Jakob's journals from that time. His parents are both concentration camp survivors and the trauma that they continue to deal with as they raise him has a big impact on his childhood experiences. He is shown to have a troubled relationship with his father especially.
Naomi: Ben's wife. Her extremely close relationship with his parents frustrates Ben.
Petra: Ben's lover for a time while in Greece.


Narration:
Part 1: Narrated by Jakob in the first person
Part 2: Narrated by Ben in the first person

Setting:
Mid WWII era- post-WWII era
1. Jakob's childhood home in Poland (in flashbacks)
2. Athos' house on a Greek island
3. Jakob and Athos' flat in Toronto
4. Ben's house (and childhood house in flashbacks)

Themes/Motifs:
-death How does Bella's death impact Jakob more than the death of his parents?
-omnipotence of emotion and GOD manifesting through geology
-Bella
-music
-parents
-piano
-books
-love/breakup
-Hair (Petra's, Bella's)

Style of Writing:
-fluffy, more description than action, almost like an epic poem rather than a novel
- random tangents about things (usually) related to love, beautiful things, geology, Athos' stories. They sometimes relate back to the novel.

Significant Passages:
When Jakob is hiding from the Nazis and then when Athos finds him
Jakob living with Athos as a boy and continuing to hide.
Jakob finally gets to go outside and into the town.
Jakob and Athos make a journey to Athos' friends' house on another island in Greece (Daphne and Kostas)

Outside Resources:
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