Request a Book Club Conversation with K. M. Deal
The only thing better than writing THE MESSENGER is talking about it! I would love it if you would consider THE MESSENGER for your next book club discussion.
If you are within commuting distance, Iwill personally attend the meeting. If not, I can participate in a telephone (speakerphone) conversation during your book club discussion.
If interested, please send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org. I will send you some bookmarks and contact you to schedule a date and time.
Reading Group Discussion Questions:
1. Why do you think the novel begins in the present before telling the story in flashback? Is this an effective way to relate Sami’s story? How do you think your reading or interpretation of the novel is affected as a result of partially knowing the story’s ending?
2. Several flashbacks in the THE MESSENGER are set in the Middle East. Discuss how the author portrays the culture and surroundings. Could you empathize with the characters?
4. What role do the women in Sami’s family play in shaping his life and his choices? What are his hopes for his daughter, Mira?
5. On page 107, Sami responds to Karen’s question about his mother’s subservience to her husband. “People make allowances for each other. Do you think your parents don’t?” What do you think that means?
6. What did you think of the relationships in the Messenger? Between Karen and Sarah? Sami and his brother? Joe and Lois? Khalid and The Teacher? Mahmoud and Abdullah?
7. What did you think of Sarah? What were her motivations to excel? Could you identify with her?
8. In some ways, Mahmoud is similar to Sami: tall, handsome, and intelligent. Yet the first man is a terrorist and the second a healer. Is Mahmoud a victim of his experiences or could he have chosen a different path?
10. Khalid was well educated and came from a well-to-do family. Why do you think his chose to become a terrorist? Had he stayed and married his cousin, Laila, would it have changed his life? Do you think people are capable of fundamental change?
9. Religion played a large role in shaping Sami’s behavior and customs. What is Sami’s view of religion and faith, especially during his adjustment to life in America?
11. On page 205, Sami’s brother, Kamal, states: “I want to attend Birzeit and become a teacher like our father. But he always looks backward, I want to look forward.” Do you believe this sentiment is common and is it attainable in an Islamic culture?
12. What do you think of the following quote by Kahlil Gibran: “I love you when you bow in your mosque, kneel in your temple, pray in your church. For you and I are sons of one religion, and it is the spirit.”