Nordic Book Club discussion

The Core of the Sun
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Monthly Discussions > June 2016 - The Core of the Sun

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Lauren | 37 comments Mod
We're halfway through June and I hope you're enjoying this month's selection The Core of the Sun. Is a pepper as hot as the core of the sun possible? It seems so! Read more about some of the world's hottest peppers and the people who are trying to breed even hotter peppers here.

Remember, our in person discussion will be Tuesday, June 28 at 6 PM at Scandinavia House. Enjoy reading!


Lauren | 37 comments Mod
Let's discuss!

1. How was your reading experience? Did you enjoy reading the book? What parts did you enjoy/not enjoy?

2. How does the opening scene, in which Vanna buys capsaicin, establish the tone of the book? Did it make you wonder what kind of world bans spice?

3. What did you think about the novel’s narrative style— first person, letters to Vanna's sister, excerpts from various historical documents such as academic papers and government policies, and lastly the occasional POV of the main male character?

4. What kind of picture do you get of Finland when reading this book?

5. As readers, we get to know Vanna’s story slowly, with her past only being revealed piece by piece. Why do you think the author decided to tell the story this way?

6. What do you think the author’s message is from writing this book? What is the author trying to tell you or to warn you about?

7. Dystopias are used in literature to comment on contemporary society? How does The Core of the Sun compare to other dystopian novels you have read? Is it an effective commentary?

8. The Core of the Sun belongs to the “Finnish weird” genre, a subculture that Sinisalo describes as “the blurring of genre boundaries, the bringing together of different genres and the unbridled flight of imagination.” What, if anything, did you find weird about this novel?

9. Does Vanna’s search through enlightenment (through using peppers, including the Core of the Sun) bring her closer to her missing sister, or widen the gap between them?

10. Did reading The Core of the Sun change the way you think about contemporary society?

11. Do you think there is hope for society in the Eusistocratic Republic of Finland?

12. The Nordic countries are often touted as being model societies. Do you see Sinisalo’s novel, as a repudiation of the egalitarian gloriousness of the “Nordic model”?

13. Is this a feminist novel?

14. What connections are there to other dystopian novels? For example The Time Machine or The Handmaid's Tale?


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