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Hello Darkness Book Club Questions

I love Book Clubs! If you have a book club and have selected Hello Darkness as your read (thank you!) then please feel free to use the following questions if you need discussion starters. Please also don't hesitate to reach out to me if you need anything else.

Hello Darkness follows the story of Rye Thorburn, a grieving father, who as a member of a rapid response team must confront violent outbreaks of a disease called K2. Faced with this unprecedented threat, society has become an enclave of autocratic leaders, invasive high-tech security, corporate propaganda, and a populace sick with fear and suspicion. However, all is not what it seems. Rye and his colleague Kate Mbachi become entangled in a conspiracy that involves a ruthless scientist and powerful hidden forces.

Hello Darkness tackles a range of themes, from loss and love through to anxiety and power. It also includes broader social commentary on the role and motivation of corporations, and that of governments and those in power.

 

Questions:

  1. The novel quotes Jun’ichirō Tanizaki at the beginning with “If light is scarce then light is scarce; we will immerse ourselves in the darkness and there discover its own particular beauty.” What is the significance of this quote and how does it resonate with Rye’s story?

  2. What do you think the biggest theme or message was?

  3. What genres does the novel combine, and how do they feed into each other and deepen the themes explored?

  4. Who was your favourite character? What character did you identify with the most? 

  5. Did any of the characters make you upset or angry? Why?

  6. While K2 differs from COVID, what parrels are there between the response to K2 and the real-world response to COVID?

  7. What changes and impacts to society from K2 did you find most alarming?

  8. Rye and Kate have a changing relationship through the book. Discuss their relationship and the impact that they have on each other.

  9. What does the novel have to say about the relationship between the government, corporations, and the public?

  10. Discuss similar scenarios where a chemical or a product has been in widespread use and then found to have damaging consequences? What was the response? What were the consequences for those involved? Could it happen again?

  11. Hello Darkness features several confronting scenes, which ones did you find most horrifying? Which one had the greatest emotional impact on you? Why?

  12. Did you feel satisfied by the book’s ending? What do you think the future holds for Rye and his son, Charlie?

  13. What surprised you the most about the book?

  14. How would you adapt this book into a movie? Who would you cast in the leading roles?

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