Book Club Resources

A Small Sacrifice for an Enormous Happiness

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A Play for the End of the World

Discussion Questions

  1. A Play for the End of the World spans across America, Poland, India. What places in the book would you like to visit? 
  2. The power of art to change our lives is a recurring theme in this novel. How has art affected you in moments of turmoil?
  3. Why does Janusz Korczak, “Pan Doktor,” stage the play “The Post Office” with his orphans? What is he hoping for in the process?
  4. In a conversation with Igor Newerly, Pan Doktor refers to the play as “a play for the end of the world.” What does he mean by that?
  5. “It transcends the test–being a mirror of the self. It transcends emotion–being experience. It transcends acting–being the work of children,” wrote poet Wladyslw Szlengel when referring to the performance of “The Post Office” in Janusz Korczak’s orphanage. What was he hoping to convey with those lines? 
  6. Misha has lived most of his life in New York and hasn’t traveled much. Why then does Misha accept Professor Bose’s invitation to come to India? 
  7. Lucy’s love for Jaryk is a grounding force in the novel. Why do you think she falls in love with Jaryk? How do you feel about her decision to visit him in India?
  8. The following lines from Rabindranath Tagore are quoted in the book, “Trust love even if it brings sorrow. Do not close up your heart… The heart is only for giving away.” What do those lines mean to you, and how do you think Lucy and Jaryk interpreted them? 
  9. What did you think of Jaryk’s decision to remain in India despite Lucy’s protests?
  10. What do you think will happen to Gopalpur after Jaryk returns to New York? What impact do you think he had on the villagers and their situation? 
  11. After the book’s end, where do you think the different characters will be in ten years?

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