Book Clubs

Discussion Guide for The Devil’s Reward 

The Devil’s Reward is a book that can spark lots of discussion. Here are questions that can help to start conversation with your book group.

  1. What is Christiane’s storytelling philosophy? Do you agree with it?
  2. What is the “devil’s reward” of the title?
  3. Who is Rudolf Steiner? Had you heard of him before reading The Devil’s Reward? What relationship does he have with Christiane and her family?
  4. A friend of Aunt Bette’s explains that “According to Steiner, evil can operate in either of two ways: the way of Lucifer, which turns man exaggeratedly from reality, so that he only takes interest in spiritual matters; or the way of Ahriman, which binds him to matter and turns his attention from all spiritual activities” (p 30). Are there any characters in the novel who display either of these evils?
  5. Describe the relationship between Christiane and her daughter. How are they similar? How do they differ? Do you think there’s a similarity between their relationship and the one between Christiane and her own mother? Is Catherine more like her mother or her grandmother Marguerite?
  6. What do you think of Papyrus? Is he ultimately a sympathetic character, or does your impression of him differ from Christiane’s? If Marguerite were the narrator, do you think your impression of him would change?
  7. Christiane tells us of her father, “He never let his sad, complicated side show in public” (p 144). How are she and Papyrus similar?
  8. How does World War II affect Christiane’s family?
  9. Describe Christiane’s ideal of marriage. Do you agree with her?
  10. How does Aunt Bette save Christiane’s life? Do you think Christiane saves her daughter’s life?
The Devil's Reward