Guide for Reading Groups, 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?

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