Book Club Discussion Points

Although the world that Freya, Kane, Marie & Sal find themselves in is imaginary, do any of their personal battles feel familiar?

“Birth diagnosis had ensured that they knew exactly what to expect from life and the State knew what to expect from them.” Could other people living in this world have a more positive experience of it than the main characters of the story? Would you be happy to live in this time and place?

Is this a credible version of the future?

When a teenage Kane starts taking his hormone pills, he describes feeling that “his feelings could no longer hold him back. Nothingness, numbness was preferable.” The characters in the story experience a lot of self-denial. Is this a typical part of human nature?

Today, you can take a genetic test that its manufacturers claim predicts your risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Would you take this test?

Love appears in many different forms in the story, but often appears very quickly. Freya, in particular, almost instantly develops feelings for Dylan, Marie, and Kane. Do you think that true love can appear – as she describes it – “from nowhere, unwanted and unexpected: an event horizon”?

If knowledge is power, who do you think wields the most power in this novel?

The parents of Freya, Kane, Sal and Marie react in very different ways to their children’s birth diagnoses. How do you think you would respond if your child was in the first generation of citizens for whom this process was compulsory?

Is science a force for good or bad in this story? Is it one or the other, or both?

Although Angie is one of the story’s villains, here are times when we see her seemingly expose her emotions. Barney believes that she experiences genuine regret, deciding that “that everything, even her own sorrow, must be fuel for the cause.” Do you agree?

In the final chapter, Angie and Elin catch each other’s eyes outside the court: “They saw in each other the frustration of an ambitious woman, a woman that had set out to prove something, to convince the world of her beliefs, an incomplete mission that still hung, tattily, in the air between them, eternally unfinished. For not all things could be finished, they told each other, not all things were black and white, not all things could be drawn around neatly and placed inside a box.” Is their assessment accurate?

In her final interview, Elin Nagayama asserts that “we shape our own successes, our own achievements in life.” Do you agree?

Any suggestions for questions to add to this list? Get in touch!