Inferno (Brown) - Discussion Questions

Discussion Questions
Use our LitLovers Book Club Resources; they can help with discussions for any book:

How to Discuss a Book (helpful discussion tips)
Generic Discussion Questions—Fiction and Nonfiction
Read-Think-Talk (a guided reading chart)

Also, consider using these LitLovers talking points to help start a discussion for The Inferno:

1. You might begin a book discussion by providing some background on Dante's Divine Comedy—a review of the poem, as well as its historical influence on the development of art and literature.

2. Follow-up to #2: Before reading Dan Brown's thriller, how familiar, if at all, were you with the The Divine Comedy and its "Inferno" Cantica? Have you come away with a better understanding of the work? What are the ways in which the author uses Dante's great classic as a framework for his thriller?

3. Robert Langdon and Sienna Brooks race to save the world from a crazed scientist who plans to unleash his solution to the world's overpopulation. To what extent, if any, do you (secretly) agree with the Bertrand Zobrist in his desire, if not his methods, to control overpopulation?

How do you feel about this statement by Brooks:

As a species, humans were like the rabbits that were introduced on certain Pacific islands and allowed to reproduce unchecked to the point that they decimated their ecosystem and finally went extinct.

To what extent is overpopulation a real-life global problem? You might do a bit of research on overpopulation and look at some of the countervailing predictions, suggesting that the global population will actually begin to collapse after 2050.

4. Talk about the real possibility of a worldwide epidemic. How plausible is the threat as portrayed Brown's book?

5. Talk about Transhumanism. What is it, and does it pose a boon—or a threat—to the future of humanity?

6. Follow-up to Question 5: At the end of the book WHO Director Elizabeth Sinskey says, "We’re on the verge of new technologies that we can’t yet even imagine.” Those technologies come with dangers but also with hope.

Sienna Brooks adds this about Transhumanism...

One of its fundamental tenets is that we as humans have a moral obligation to participate in our evolutionary use our technologies to advance the species, to create better humans—healthier, stronger, with higher-functioning brains. Everything will soon be possible.

She then says...

If we don’t embrace [these tools], then we are as undeserving of life as the caveman who freezes to death because he’s afraid to start a fire.

What do you think?

7. Have you traveled to any of the three sites of the novel: Florence, Venice, or Istanbul? If so, how accurate is Brown's depiction of these cities? If you haven't been to Italy or Turkey, does the author bring the cities to life? Are they places you would like to visit?

8. Is this book a page-turner? Did you find yourself unable to put it down? If so, what makes it enthralling? If you didn't find Inferno an engaging read, what put you off the book?

9. Follow-up to Question 8: Brown uses a 4-part pattern for the episodes in his book: 1) Langdon is presented with a clue he must interpret, 2) he has a "eureka" moment, 3) he is pursued by villains who make a sudden appearance, and 4) he escapes after a hair-raising chase. Try going through the book to identify the pattern in various episodes.

10. What about the book's ending? Do you find it predictable ... surprising ... shocking ... frightening ... satisfying?

11. Have you read other Dan Brown thrillers? If so, how does this compare?

(Questions by LitLovers. Please feel free to use them, online or off, with attribution. Thanks.)

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