In a bookclub?
Here are some suggested discussion points about The Second Cure to get the conversation going.
1. How do you feel about Charlie’s decision at the end of the novel? Do you think that the ends justify the means?
2. There is a quote from Schopenhauer in the novel which suggests that while we can do what we want, we can’t will what we want. So, while we have control of ourselves when it comes to acting or not on our will, we can’t control what that will itself is. Do you agree with that? How do you think that plays out in the journeys of the characters, particularly Winnie, Tricia and Charlie?
3. Is the world at the end of The Second Cure one you’d like to live in? Why or why not?
4. Flowers feature heavily in the story. What meanings do you think they have?
5. Do you have synaesthesia? Would you like to?
6. How do you feel about the technologies in the second half of the book? Do they attract you, repel you, or both?
7. One of the ideas in the novel is how parasitism and mutualism in biology are in a state of flux over time. Do you see similar shifts in the relationships between its characters and in the structure of its societies?
8. Given contemporary international politics, how likely is it that we are just one plague, one disaster, one attack away from the emergence of someone like Effenberg?