David Hirshberg

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Jacobo's Rainbow

Discussion Questions for Jacobo's Rainbow

  1. What does the author mean in the Prologue when he writes, “My guess is that you’re going to believe this is fiction; that would be a delusion”?
  2. How does the opening paragraph in Chapter One manifest itself throughout the book?
  3. Did the opening paragraph give anything away or were you surprised to learn about the origins of Jacobo’s community?
  4. The author drops tells like breadcrumbs to presage later events. Can you identify some of the important ones?
  5. What was the purpose of the Holyman stories?
  6. Were you surprised that Jacobo bonded with Herzl almost immediately? To what do you attribute his feeling of closeness?
  7. Despite Jacobo not being a perfect citizen, do you understand why he kept a central event a secret and if so, how do you think you would have behaved in a similar situation?
  8. The two ‘major’ minor characters are Ben Veniste and Navajo Joe with whom Jacobo has many important interactions. Do you see a similarity in the relationships that Jacobo has with each one? Or not?
  9. Have you ever faced the kind of discrimination that’s featured in the book and if so, how have you dealt with it?
  10. Aside from Jacobo, who is the second most important character in the book and why do you feel that way?
  11. For those of you who lived through the Vietnam War era, did the scene in Vietnam resonate with you? Or the scene afterwards when Jacobo is still in uniform and returns to the University?
  12. Do you see any parallels with what went on in the Free Speech Movement at the University of Taos and what’s going on at college campuses today?
Copyright 2021 David Hirshberg