This month's book for discussion by the Coterie of Frustrated
Intellectuals is Cory Doctorow's Someone
Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town. I admit to being conflicted
about this book, which is why I picked it. As is customary for our book
club, I'm asking the other readers to keep in mind, and be prepared to
answer, the following questions:
- For the odd family at the center of the book, "Alan" and his
brothers, their names are fluid and unfixed (Adam, Andy, Alex, Arthur...).
Why? And what is the importance of the alphabet?
- A significant portion of Someone Comes to Town is taken up
with a hair-brained wireless networking scheme--the kind of thing that, in
real life, Cory Doctorow spent a lot of time championing. Does the network
fulfill a non-gratuitous story purpose? If so, what is it?
- Although it's set in a very contemporary scene, this book would seem
to fall more into the genre of magical realism. There are many
unbelievable events and characters largely treated as if they were
unremarkable or mundane. What are the parallels between this book and the
folklore tradition to which it sometimes returns?
- Precognition and destiny play a role in the resolution of Someone
Comes to Town, but how big a role?
- Compared to many of the other characters, Alan seems pretty normal.
Is he really? What sets him apart?
More questions will probably be ready by the time we meet, but these seem
like good starting places for someone to explore the themes of Someone
Comes to Town.