Questions for Book Club Discussions

I love meeting with book clubs. I can also join in the discussion and take questions via Skype or on speaker phone. To schedule an author visit, please send me a request on my Contact Form. Thanks! Meanwhile here are some questions to get you started.


1. Teatime for the Firefly takes place during a transitional time in Indian society. How is this reflected in the female characters of Layla, Kona, Jamina and Moon who all end up with extremely different lives.

2. Manik Deb takes extreme actions to marry Layla, which results in his being disowned by his family and changes the course of his professional life. Was this kind of drastic measure necessary during those times or was it a reflection of Manik’s character?

3. The tea plantations of Assam in North-east India, the setting for Teatime for the Firefly is very much a character in the story. Do you agree?

4. The novel is set in a transitional time of India’s political history; Layla, the central character is going through her own personal transformation What are the parallels?

5. Manik Deb finds employment and a way to marry his love through the tea plantation. Despite not being friends, Mr. Sen stays for a cup of tea with the Rai Bahadur; Layla first gets Jamina to sit with her after offering her salted tea. What role does tea play in this story and in Indian culture in general?

6. Discuss the character of Jamina. An orphan sold by her stepfather to be a prostitute, she finds a sense of community and sisterhood with Layla that she never had before. But Layla is the only woman to extend her any kindness. How does the other wives’ scorn for her comment on female roles in Indian society of the era?

7. Initially Layla is uncomfortable managing the servants in the bungalow, but she eventually comes to seemingly embrace her role. What does this say about Layla’s upbringing and character?

8. Layla has a recurring dream of fireflies. Both Manik  and Layla seem to have a fondness for fireflies, even being the inspiration for their daughter’s name. What is the significance of fireflies in this novel?


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