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Reader’s Den

The Reader's Den: "The Post-Birthday World" Discussion Questions

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I hope everyone has been enjoying The Post-Birthday World by Lionel Shriver. Here are some discussion questions to contemplate while running holiday errands!

Shriver uses gray and white in each chapter heading to represent and distinguish between the dual lives of Irina. That is, chapter one has a gray background and then she alternates for each succeeding chapter: one white and one gray, respectively. The final chapter, chapter 12, uses elements of both. What is the significance of this, if any?

In what ways is the theme similar to that of the movie Sliding Doors? In what ways is it different?

Shriver describes herself as "an excellent cook, if one inclined to lace every dish with such a malice of fresh chilis that nobody but I can eat it. Indeed, I have been told more than once that I am 'extreme.' As I run through my preferences -- for dark roast coffee, dark sesame oil, dark chocolate, dark meat chicken, even dark chili beans -- a pattern emerges that, while it may not put me on the outer edges of human experience, does exude a faint whiff of the unsavory." What do you make of this penchant for chilis that the author shares with the main character, Irina?

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