READING GROUP GUIDE

Resurrection Bay

  1. Did you learn anything new by reading Resurrection Bay? Has it changed your ideas about anything, or confirmed them?
  2. Caleb is a resourceful and stubborn character; do you think this stubbornness is something that has helped him in life, or hindered him? Both? Is his tenacity solely due to his deafness, or have other factors influenced him? Do you admire it, or are you frustrated by it?
  3. What are the main ideas or themes explored in Resurrection Bay? Do you think the title reflects any of them?
  4. Do you have a favourite passage that strikes you as insightful? Is there a particular piece of dialog or prose that you feel encapsulates any of the themes?
  5. Do you feel that Caleb has changed by the end of the novel? If so, in what way? Has he learned anything about himself or the other people in his life? What about the other characters?
  6. How does Resurrection Bay differ from other crime novels you’ve read? How is it similar?
  7. Frankie tells Caleb that ‘There aren’t too many people in the world I love.’ Do you think that she really does love Caleb? How do you feel about Frankie?
  8. The setting of the novel moves between the relative anonymity of a big city, and a small country town where everybody seems to know Caleb. Why do you think the novel has such contrasting locations?
  9. Caleb and Kat obviously still harbour feelings for each other. Why do you think separated? What do you think their marriage was like? Do you feel there are any particular scenes that demonstrate the strengths and weaknesses of their relationship? Do you think they might have a future together?
  10. Resurrection Bay has a diverse range of characters, and includes a number of Indigenous Australian characters. Why do you think the author chose to write characters with such a wide range of backgrounds? Do you feel that Kat’s experiences parallel Caleb’s in any way?
  11. Kat tells Caleb ‘every time you open your mouth you’re trying to pass’. What does she mean by this? Do you agree with her?
  12. Although Caleb works hard at his lip-reading skills, he is most comfortable when using sign language. Why do you think he chooses to lip-read most of the time? Is there any significance to the people with whom he chooses to sign? Caleb’s deafness presents problems for him, but can it also be beneficial for him at times? If so, can you think of any instances where his deafness has worked to his advantage?
  13. Caleb and his brother, Anton, were once very close, playing tricks on the neighbours and signing in secret. Did you feel that their estrangement was Caleb’s fault or Anton’s? Was Caleb overly harsh towards his brother at times? Overly forgiving? Can you see an ongoing relationship between them, or will they drift apart again?
  14. The scene in the warehouse is quite brutal. Why do you think the author chose to put Caleb in such a shocking situation? Can you see a better way for Caleb to have acted? What would you have done in the same situation?

And Fire Came Down

  1. Did you learn anything new by reading And Fire Came Down? Has it changed your ideas about anything, or confirmed them?
  2. Why do you think Caleb is so driven to investigate Portia’s death?
  3. Caleb is a resourceful and stubborn character; do you think his stubbornness has helped him in life, or hindered him? Is his tenacity due to his deafness, or have other factors influenced him? Do you admire it, or are you frustrated by it?
  4. The title, And Fire Came Down, is from the Old Testament. Why do you think the author chose this title?
  5. What are the main ideas or themes explored in And Fire Came Down? Are there any particular scenes that brought these ideas to your attention?
  6. Caleb often thinks about his father, and Ant also refers to him– more than once. What do you think Ivan Zelic was like? How do you think his personality affected the brothers?
  7. Caleb and Ant’s adult relationship is ‘a rickety construction built on a few honest moments and a memory of childhood closeness’. Do you think their relationship evolves throughout the novel? If so, in what way?
  8. Scars recur constantly in the novel. Can you remember any examples? Do you think they have any significance? If so, in what way?
  9. Aunty Eileen repeatedly tells Caleb she doesn’t want his help. Why do you think she says this? How do you feel about Aunty Eileen? What do you think drives her?
  10. Imagery of death is present throughout the novel: pine forests are ‘living graveyards’ and a bikie has ‘tombstone teeth’. Did you notice any other examples? Why do you think the author chose to use this language?
  11. Ant has a long history of drug use and petty crime, but claims to have changed. Do think he has? How do you feel about Ant? What do you think the future holds for him?
  12. Caleb believes he feels nothing but anger for Frankie. Do you think this is true? How do you think Frankie feels about Caleb?
  13. Heat is a constant presence in And Fire Came Down. Why do you think the author chose to set the novel in the middle of a heatwave?
  14. Towards the end of the novel Kat tells Caleb she can’t fix his pain. Do think she’s right? What are Kat’s feelings towards Caleb? How do you feel about Kat?
  15. Do you think Caleb has changed by the end of the novel? If so, in what way?