Bookclub Questions

  1. Does Zoe always act morally? Does she act in accordance with her principles? Does she cross the line? Does she act selfishly? If so, when?
  2. Is Nick right about the way heaven should be run? Is Angela right? Who would you prefer to be right? Whose solution is most effective?
  3. At first Zoe attempts to follow the rules set out by Angela to the minimum that will get her by (chapter 4). Then she decides to opt out and head for John’s cabin (chapter 8). At any time does Zoe decide to take an active stand against heaven’s authority?
  4. Does Zoe make a principled stand on ethics or emotions? What would it take to make her accept Angela’s rules?
  5. It is important in general to follow the rules laid down by society or to challenge them if you believe them to be wrong? What if those rules appear to be working for most people?
  6. George Bernard Shaw wrote: “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world: the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.” Is Zoe an unreasonable woman?
  7. What do you think happens after Zoe is sent back? To her and Alex? To the resistance?
  8. Alex believes the last thing on Zoe’s mind was “not the man in front of her but someone she had once loved who died a tragic death” (chapter 1). Can you love two people at once? What happens when someone dies, do you stop loving them?
  9. Is Zoe unfaithful to Linden when she marries Alex? Is she unfaithful to Alex when she hooks up with Linden (Alex is, effectively, dead)?  When she returns to Alex she thinks “Unfaithful wasn’t a few words of conversation and a cup of tea. Betrayal was an action, wasn’t it? Not the thoughts in her head.”(Chapter 15). Does Zoe cross the line when she thinks about wanting Linden when he is dead, or Alex when she is with Linden? Or is she not unfaithful until she acts on it?
  10. Winney says “One day you wake up expecting a toddler who no longer exists and instead you’re looking at a grown man.” (chapter 9) and Zoe thinks “The Alex from then was dead just as surely as her Alex was, but she’d never get to meet him. She saw Alex as a line of clones stretching into the distance, each one younger as they moved away from her.” (chapter 15) Are you the same person you were when you were a child?
  11. Zoe records her memories in objects – the dress, mug and books she retrieves from her flat (Chapter 14). Is Linden one of the objects she collects?
  12. Oliver Sacks has written about the case of a musician who completely lost his memory . Every time the musician's wife enters the room, even if she has been gone for only a few moments, he has no memory of who she is, but knows instantly that she is the most wonderful woman in the world. Do your memories make you who you are? Would you be the same person even if you had no memories?
  13. More than once in ‘27’, Zoe sees a musician (or poet) who had a short and sometimes tragic life. In chapter 5, Linden says to Zoe that some moments of music are divine “[a]nd the artists that created such moments gave their lives or their sanity for them.” Is it acceptable for an artist to suffer to give the world such a moment?