Reading Group Guide
1. In what ways do you think In the Company of the Courtesan seems historically accurate? What details about Renaissance Italy do you think came from the author's imagination, and what aspects of it seemed to be based on her historical research of the period?
2. Do you think a character like Fiammetta could exist today? What, if anything, is modern about her?
3. What did you think of Fiametta's relationship with her mother, and her mother's influence on her daughter's life?
4. In the Company of the Courtesan is told from Bucinos' perspective. Why do you think the author wrote it this way, rather than in the first person, from Fiamatta's point of view? What are the benefits of hearing the story and seeing Venice through Bucino's eyes? What are the limitations?
5. We tend to think of a Fiammetta's profession as one that is very hard on women, and doesn't make for a happy life. On the whole, do you consider Fiammetta to be a contented character, or an unhappy one?
6. Did you find La Draga to be a likeable character? How did your view of her change throughout the novel?
7. Is it accurate to describe Courtesan as a novel of "rebirth"? What are some other themes of this novel?
8. Do you think Fiammetta was truly in love with The Pup? If not, how would you define their relationship? Was Bucino's anger at this relationship justified?
9. What does 16th-century Venetian society have in common with our society today?
10. Why do Bucino and Fiammetta make such a good team --- what makes them successful?
11. The picture on the cover of Courtesan is a detail from a painting by Tiziano Vecllio (Titian). When you were reading the novel, did you form an image of Fiammetta that was based on this cover image, or did you make up your own image of her? If your own, can you describe it?
12. What predictions would you make about little Fiammetta's future life? Do you think she'll have the same profession as her namesake?
In the Company of the Courtesan: A Novel
- Publication Date: February 6, 2007
- Paperback: 385 pages
- Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks
- ISBN-10: 0812974042
- ISBN-13: 9780812974041