Driven by vibrant, convincing characters, and underpinned by a host of important, elemental themes - from mother-daughter bonds and self-sacrifice, to the global climate crisis - Daylight Come is an astonishing feat of speculative fiction. And with it author Diana McCauley - a multi-award-winning Jamaican writer and environmental activist - has delivered a book that’s stylistically stimulating and packed with talking points. As such, it’s a brilliant choice for book clubs to discuss.
Read on for some meaty topics to get stuck into, and head here to read our review - it’s not for nothing we made Daylight Come a Star Book, and a Book of the Month.
- Summarise the novel in one sentence.
- What’s the significance of the book’s title? How does it resonate throughout the novel? Discuss alternative titles that get to the heart of the novel’s themes.
- Though the novel is set in an imagined future, how true did it ring with the world we live in? Did you find it believable? Discuss in relation to the environment, attitudes towards age, and gender relations.
- “I’m forty-five and the end is coming fast for me What use am I without my daughter? Maybe the only thing I can give her is a chance to escape this hell. To die with her would be better than to die alone”. So says Bibi, Sorrel’s mother, near the beginning of the novel. Is Bibi no use without her daughter? Could she have given Sorrel anything else? Do you agree that running the risk of dying together is better than Bibi dying alone?
- What does the novel say about maternal instincts and bonds? How did you respond to Bibi’s act of self-sacrifice?
- What role do off-the-page characters (such as Sorrel’s father, and her friend Sesame) play in the novel?
- Which character did you most relate to, and why? Did you struggle with any of the characters’ actions? Did any actions jar with your moral compass?
- What do you think the author is trying to say about social inequality?
- Compare and contrast the dynamics of the female and male groups. How differently do they function? Which operates most effectively?
- Self-preservation versus selfishness - which of these facets of human behaviour resonate most strongly through the characters’ actions?
- How does the author create a sense of place and history? Consider in relation to the author’s style and imagery, and in relation to the island’s indigenous Tribals (Tainos in the real world)?
- Did the ending satisfy you? Was it the outcome you expected?
- Did the novel’s Caribbean setting and non-European perspective change your understanding of climate change?
- Are you inspired to read more of the author’s work?
In case you missed them, here are our previous Book Club Recommendations - each with a set of questions to kick-start your discussions:
September 2020: Here is the Beehive by Sarah Crossan
October 2020: Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman.
November 2020: The Illustrated Child by Polly Crosby
December 2020: Leave The World Behind by Rumaan Alam
January 2021: Victoria Park by Gemma Reeves
February 2021: Mrs Death Misses Death by Salena Godden
March 2021: Barn Club by Robert J Somerville
April 2021: Unsettled Ground by Claire Fuller
June 2021: Erringby by Gill Darling