After the Auction


On assignment for a magazine report about the challenges that often surround regaining Holocaust-era property, Lily Kovner spots a seder plate that she remembers being stolen from her family during Kristallnacht up for auction. Kovner’s journey across the globe to recover the plate leads to danger and romance.

Discussion Questions

1. The novel deals with a number of historical events and situations, including Zionism, Nazi art looting, and the illegal immigration and shipment of arms to pre-state Israel. Discuss these and their significance in the story.

2. The novel's narrative includes a section set 65-40 years before the main plot. Discuss the importance of this section to the total story and character development, including any possible parallels between it and the majority, set in 1990. 

3. Many fiction and nonfiction stories about Nazi art looting focus on famous secular paintings. Discuss the significance of the Seder plate as the lost object, instead of another (secular) work of art.

4. Lily prides herself on self-reliance and independence. Discuss her relationship to Simon and his role in the story in light of this.

5. Discuss major themes and possible morals to be drawn from this story. 

6. The Holocaust and stories about it continue to intrigue and attract readers. Why?

7. What is the significance of the plot resolving in Israel?

8. What is appealing or unattractive about Lily as a character? Simon? Nachman? Ruth?

9. How does the mystery element of the plot build and keep the reader turning pages?

10. Some readers want a sequel, more books about Lily and her family. How would you envision a next book? 

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