*If you are new here, WELCOME! For Klara and the Sun, I provide your book club with a brief summary, food ideas, and discussion questions in that order!
If you haven’t heard of Kazuo Ishiguro, he is a Nobel Prize winner whose works, such as Never Let Me Go and The Remains of the Day, captivate readers. In his latest work, Klara and the Sun, Ishiguro tackles an A.I. infiltrated future society where Artificial Friends become the norm.
Unlike many A.I. centered tales, here the A.I. is friend not foe. In fact, the novel is told by an Artificial Friend, Klara, who longs for and is finally chosen by a child.
Klara is an unforgettable narrator who operates on reason and data, but prides herself in being more emotionally astute than her peers. In the novel, Ishiguro explores the depth of Klara’s emotional intelligence and its limits in a moving story of grief and hope.
You can definitely tell that you are in the hands of a master and, unlike many literary winners, the reading was anything but a slog. I was captivated from the moment I opened the book until the end.
Sometimes you can just tell when a story has true lasting potential and this one does. I can’t recommend it enough for your book club!
Full of timely and thought-provoking ideas that lurk just beneath the surface of a moving story, your book club will have plenty to discuss about Klara and the Sun!
I’ve provided book club questions and delicious food ideas for Klara and the Sun, so if you are looking for book club ideas and more, keep reading!
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Here’s a brief summary of Klara and the Sun:
From the Publisher: “Here is the story of Klara, an Artificial Friend with outstanding observational qualities, who, from her place in the store, watches carefully the behavior of those who come in to browse, and of those who pass on the street outside. She remains hopeful that a customer will soon choose her. Klara and the Sun is a thrilling book that offers a look at our changing world through the eyes of an unforgettable narrator, and one that explores the fundamental question: what does it mean to love?.”
For Klara and the Sun Activity Idea:
Print off photos from an online archive. Try pixabay.com to find images. Print enough images for everyone in the group. They can be random photos (this is where things get creative).
Pass them out to the group. Have each person draw a thought bubble and write whatever the photo inspires them to write in the context of the novel.
For example, for this image I might write:
- “I remember my mother’s touch, but the only time I feel connected to her now is at Morgan’s Falls.” – from the perspective of Josie
- “I wonder what it feels like when skin touches skin.” – from the perspective of Klara
- “I remember how Sal’s fingers felt curled around mine, but I can’t bear to think of it.” -from the perspective of the Mother
For Klara and the Sun Food Ideas:
The one downside of a futuristic and sometimes stark setting is that there isn’t much food mentioned. A narrator who is an A.I. and doesn’t eat only added to the lack of food in the story.
Here are the few food ideas from the pages of Klara and the Sun:
- Part 4 – Rick offers Josie his carrot cake at the sushi cafe in the city
- Part 4 – Helen and Mr. Vance meet at the Pie Diner (donuts and pie)
Still, you can get creative. Coffee is mentioned quite alot. Especially in reference to the Mother and the Mother and Josie’s breakfast meetings. Consider keeping it simple and serving only coffee and some cake.
Whether you choose something from this list or try your own option, I hope these food ideas will get your creative juices flowing to host your book club for Klara and the Sun!
Klara and the Sun Book Club Questions:
*WARNING: May contain spoilers!
- The novel takes place some time in the future when parents choose artificial friends for their children and interaction with other children is limited and scheduled. Why do you think that the parents preferred artificial friends over human children? What similar trends do you see in today’s world?
- While the details are never disclosed, the novel hints that the parents made choices for Josie and Rick which would affect their success, but would come at a cost (possibly the life of the child). Why do you think that Josie’s parents took the risk, but Rick’s didn’t? What similar trade-offs do you see in today’s culture?
- Were you shocked to learn what the Mother had planned for Klara? Did you sympathize with her desire? Would doing something like the Mother planned ever assuage the grief for someone you lost?
- Discuss the Cootings Machine and its role in the novel. What do you think it represented? Klara tries to destroy it, at a detrimental cost to herself, but the damage continues. How did this speak to you?
- Why do you think that Klara believes that the Sun is the remedy for Josie’s illness? What do you think the Sun represented in the book?
- Do you think Klara had feelings? Or do you think that we, as readers, imposed feelings on her throughout the story based on her actions? In that sense, discuss the fine line between action and feeling.
- Klara claims she can understand and emulate with completeness the person of Josie. Others, like her father, believe that the soul’s nuances are infinite. What do you think?
- Later, Klara comes to realize that, though she still believes in Josie’s finitude, it is the way others love her that is infinite and affecting. How do you think that the way people love affects humans in a nuanced way that can never be duplicated?
- What did you think about the ending of the book? Could you be happy knowing you served your purpose despite being discarded later? Did this move you to reevaluate any relationships in your life where you have been treated as Klara (or perhaps took the role of Josie)?
- Have you read any of Ishiguro’s books besides Klara and the Sun? How did this novel compare? What other books about Artificial Intelligence have you read and enjoyed?
Have you read Klara and the Sun? What questions came up in your mind while reading? What was your favorite part?
Until next time, Happy Reading!
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