“There are so many truths. Which one do you want?” Rachel Weissman, a pre-med student from a Jewish family, has little interest in Israel until she meets Michael, a Palestinian doctor in New York on a fellowship. Their paths cross when she interns at his clinic just at the start of the First Intifada when anti-Israel protests spread across her college campus. She is attracted by Michael’s strength and passion to help his people. He sees her as a recruit to his cause. Drawn together by their differences, an unlikely romance develops, forcing them each to confront pre-existing loyalties and to uncover truths buried under lifetimes of lies. Moving from a Palestinian refugee camp to a college campus in New York to an Israeli prison, Children of Lies is a fast-moving story of two people who fall in love and become trapped in a geopolitical maelstrom.
Children of Lies
May 16, 2017
Courtesy of Susan Lerner
- As a child, Michael was torn between his father and Akil. Why do you think he committed himself to Akil?
- What influences and events led Michael to moderate his views from those held by Akil?
- Did the fact that Rachel was Jewish allow Michael to get closer to her? Have you ever felt it easier to get close to someone you felt, for whatever reason, was not someone “appropriate” for you?
- What influences and events in Rachel’s life led her into a relationship to Michael?
- Do you think Rachel was naïve, or did she see a truth about Michael that even he didn’t see?
- Why was Akil so determined to derail the peace talks? Did you sympathize with his views?
- Why did Rivka keep the secret about Rachel’s dad? Was she wrong to do so? What would you have done in her situation?
- In what ways is the novel simply about a girl grieving for her father?
- What do you think will happen to Rachel after the conclusion of the novel?
- Did you have a pre-existing bias towards the Israeli/Palestinian conflict before reading the novel? Did the book alter your view or make you rethink it?
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