The Glass Harmonica: Discussion Questions

  • Do you detect similarities between the cast of characters in the 18th century and that of the 21st?

(Each of the main characters has a corresponding character in the other time period.)

  • Do you agree that music has healing (or destructive) powers?

(In the 18th century, the glass harmonica gained the reputation of being a dangerous
instrument to people with nervous problems, pregnant women, or children.)

  • Do you think Benjamin Franklin’s epitaph (at the end of the book) means he believed in reincarnation?
  • The book was published in 2000. What events have occurred since then that seem to bear out the author’s vision of the future?

(Issues of mass transit, enhanced medical treatments for neurological/spinal diseases, 3-D
visual projections, retro styles in automobiles and decor, tent cities outside urban areas.)

  • Do you think there is a parallel between slavery in the 18th century and the disadvantaged population of the 21st century? Is the reaction of the characters different in the earlier period than it is in the later one?

If you enjoy musical, historical fiction, you might also like Mozart’s Blood, a novel which also features Mozart.