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The Invisible Bridge
by Orringer, Julie
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1. What does the opening chapter establish about the cultural and social milieu of prewar Budapest? What do Andrass reactions to Hász household reveal about the status of Jews within the larger society? How do the differences between the Hász and Lévi families affect their assumptions and behavior during the war? Which scenes and characters most clearly demonstrate the tensions within the Jewish community?

2. Despite the grim circumstances, Andras and Mendel produce satirical newspapers in the labor camps. What do the excerpts from The Snow Goose (p. 331), The Biting Fly (pp. 36061), and The Crooked Rail (p. 437) show about the strategies that helped laborers preserve their humanity and their sanity? What other survival techniques do Andras and his fellow laborers develop?

3. What details in the descriptions of Bánhida (pp. 35663, pp. 39299), Turka (pp. 486503), and the transport trains (pp. 55866) most chillingly capture the cruelty perpetrated by the Nazis? In addition to physical abuse and deprivation, what are the psychological effects of the camps rules and the laws imposed on civilian populations?

4. Andrass encounters with Mrs. Hász (p. 6) and with Zoltán Novak (pp. 1920) are the first of many coincidences that determine the future paths of various characters. What other events in the novel are the result of chance or luck? How do the twists and turns of fortune help to create a sense of the extraordinary time in which the novel is set?

5. What did you know about Hungarys role in World War II before reading The Invisible Bridge? Did the book present information about the United States and its Allies that surprised you? Did it affect your views on Zionism and the Jewish emigration to Palestine? Did it deepen your understanding of the causes and the course of the war? What does the epilogue convey about the postwar period and the links among past, present, and future?

Additional discussion questions from: Reading Group Guides
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