1. The epigraph from the Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard: 'Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards', offers a powerful universal truth but in what ways do you think it is also directly relevant to the novel that follows?
2. Hanna's father in The Prologue, shocks her by drawing a line to connect the freckles on her arm. It’s an intense moment between them but does it have greater significance?
3. Hanna’s past was cruel and her situation in Stockholm precarious but there is joy and hope in her life too. Did you find this balance to exist and at the end, were you optimistic for her future?
4. Hanna's background is revealed gradually through alternating chapters returning the reader to the moment when her family was taken. What was successful about this approach?
5. Justice is a major theme of the novel with Hanna given a unique opportunity to contribute to the prosecutions of the Nazis. However, when she travelled to Sweden to find ‘her German’, a very different form of justice was on her mind. If she had carried her intentions through, would she have been in the right?
6. We’re taught as children to always tell the truth but Hanna relies throughout on dishonesty, even lying to those who desire to help her. Why is it that characters with flaws and insecurities are so much easier to fall in love with?
7. Throughout the novel, Hanna is haunted by the ‘ghosts’ of her past. What understanding of her character did you take from these ‘encounters’?
8. The Holocaust is a great stain on European history and has been explored frequently in fiction. Do you think that this novel succeeds in finding an original way to examine such an important subject?
9. Poland suffered terribly in the Second World War, subjugated by ruthless autocratic regimes. Do you think that recalling events of eighty years ago is still useful in understanding the contemporary world?
10. Finally, if you were adapting the novel for film or TV, whom would you cast in the roles of Hanna and Henry?