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Reading Group Guide

Discussion Questions

A Noble Radiance

1. Pucetti says to Brunetti, "We're getting a lot of Albanians and Slavs, and you know what thieves they are." Brunetti notes that while he tends to agree with Pucetti, his wife Paola would have reacted angrily to such a statement. What do you think this says about Brunetti's character? Why did the author choose to include the disclaimer about Paola?

2. When Brunetti discusses nuclear science with his medical radiology researcher brother, he laments the technological advances at the expense of human lives. Roberto Lorenzoni turns out to be a peripheral victim to nuclear power, an Icarus who falls because of his own curiosity. Do you think, as Brunetti seems to, that Chernobyl was reason enough to stop building new nuclear reactors? Why or why not?

3. Brunetti is "In love with his wife, proud of his children, capable of doing his job well, why would he worry about happiness, and what more than these things could happiness be comprised of?" How might one answer such a question? In what ways might happiness be separate from the things he listed?

4. What was Count Lorenzoni's motive for killing his nephew Maurizio? What motivates the count's actions? Was it love for his wife or love of himself?

5. Brunetti quotes from Cicero, "To understand the relationship between one phenomenon and another and the causes and consequences of each one." What is the significance of this quote? How does it relate to the events of Roberto Lorenzoni's short life? How does it relate to Brunetti's own life? In what ways do you think justice has been served with respect to Count Lorenzoni? What kind of punishment do you think Paolo Filippi deserved?

A Noble Radiance
by Donna Leon

  • Publication Date: August 26, 2003
  • Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (Non-Classics)
  • ISBN-10: 0142003190
  • ISBN-13: 9780142003190