The Incendiaries – Discussion Topics

We’ll be adding discussion topics for each BOTM pick weekly. Below is a great place to start with some questions about The Incendiaries, featured by Lit Lovers, to get you thinking!

Discussion Questions

1. At its core, The Incendiaries is about religious fervor. How does the novel portray faith, both its blessings and dangers?

2. How would you describe Will and Phoebe? What draws them together; what is it about Phoebe, especially, that attracts Will?

3. Why does the author choose Will to tell this story?

4. Both Phoebe and Will are searching for something that will bring meaning to their lives. What about their lives makes them feel empty or incomplete?

5. All three main characters, including John Leal, do not reveal the full truth about themselves. What is each hiding—and why?

6. Trace the development of John’s religious faith. Kwon writes that John wasn’t “just his Lord’s child. He often had to be his substitute.” What does she mean?

7. On his return to America, John targets Phoebe for his newly born mission. Why Phoebe? What makes her susceptible to his blandishments?

8. Why are religious cults so attractive: what do they offer, how do they drawn in new followers, and how do they keep them enthralled?

(Questions by LitLovers. Please feel free to use them, online and off, with attribution. Thanks.)

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