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Far North



Awards: National Book Awards - Finalist

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About The Author

Marcel Theroux

Marcel Theroux is the author of A Blow to the Heart, A Stranger in the Earth, and The Confessions of Mycroft Holmes: A Paper Chase, which won a Somerset Maugham Award. He lives in London.

Awards

National Book Awards - Finalist

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Reading Group Gold

The following author biography and list of questions about Far North are intended as resources to aid individual readers and book groups who would like to learn more about the author and this book. We hope that this guide will provide you a starting place for discussion, and suggest a variety of perspectives from which you might approach Far North.

1. Given that she barely reads, why does Makepeace make such a point of preserving books for posterity?

2. The author Arthur C. Clarke famously said “ any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic”. How does this relate to the world of Far North? How much of the technology that you use every day operates on principles that you understand? What are the implications of a society that increasingly depends on incomprehensibly sophisticated forms of technology?

3. What’s the difference between Makepeace’s evaluation of herself and the way she comes across to the reader?

4. How does Makepeace feel about herself in relation to her ancestors? Is she right to feel this way?

5. Is Makepeace convincingly female?

6. What is the effect of the author withholding information about Makepeace’s gender?

7. Eben Callard mentions something called Daniel’s Fire. What do you think this is?

8. Why do Makepeace’s family leave the U.S.? What is the attraction of a fresh start? What are they fleeing from?

9. To what extent are you persuaded that man-made climate change is a real problem? What evidence would it take to persuade or dissuade you of its importance? Why do you think it inspires such strong views? What position does the author of Far North appear to take?

10. Is this is a despairing book? What consolation does it offer us?

11. Makepeace lives several generations into the future. How does our life look to her? How do the lives of your grandparents and great-grandparents look to you?

12. It’s an underlying assumption of modern life that the future will be better than the past. Why is this necessarily the case? Has it always been true?

13. Makepeace feels that Shamsudin represents a different kind of person from her. What is the difference between them as Makepeace perceives it?

14.What does the future hold for Makepeace’s daughter?

15. In Chekhov’s play, “Three Sisters”, Vershinin says: “It could be that our present life, which seems so normal to us, will in time seem strange, uncomfortable, mindless, unclean, and perhaps even corrupt.” How does this relate to the aims of speculative fiction?

16. Life on earth will end one day. How, if at all, is this fact relevant to the way we live now?

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