Alif the Unseen - Through Ch. 10
Discussing through Chapter 10
No spoilers beyond Chapter 10 in this post!
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Feel free to repost your comment without the spoilers in there! :)
Reminder of where we are in the story:
Vikram brings Alif to meet "the convert", an American woman who has been studying in The City and has converted to become a muslim. She suspects that Alif's copy of Alf Yeom is not the original but brings Alif with her to the university lab so they can test the resins used to preserve the book and its pages. They learn that the book is very old, making this the oldest copy in the world.
Alif writes to Intisar while he's at the computer lab and requests a meeting so he can ask for some information about why she gave him the book.
Vikram brings the convert and Alif to the Immovable Alley to confirm the identity of the book. They learn that their research thus far is correct and that this copy of Alf Yeom is one of the four original copies.
Afterward, Alif goes to meet Intisar but he is instead met by men from the State. He escapes into a mosque where he is able to hide out for a while. Dina, the convert, and Vikram join him there overnight. In the morning, Intisar comes to the door and it is revealed that the statesmen are outside and it was supposed to be Intisar's job to lead Alif out.
Alif goes back inside, the doors are barred, and Vikram has a revelation of what the Hand wants with the book - he believes he can use Alf Yeom to build a computer. Alif sets to work teaching Sheikh Bilal's old computer how to "think" in new ways, and he manages to infiltrate the State's systems and also fight the Hand on a digital battlefield. He comes out as the victor.
In the real world however, Alif is still trapped in the mosque. Vikram takes the convert and Dina with him to the empty quarter, which he warns will probably kill him. Meanwhile, Alif gives himself up and this section ends with him getting a black bag over his head as he is taken away by the State.
Ideas for discussion:
1) What did you think about this section of the book? How are you liking it so far now that the story has gotten rolling?
2) Intisar's betrayal of Alif is revealed in the final chapter of this section. What do you think of her as a character? Do you think Alif had a different perspective of their relationship than she did, or do you think that she was forced to change due to her betrothal to the Hand? Who do you think her loyalties lie with, if anyone?
3) What did you think about Alif infiltrating the State's computers and hacking their data?
4) Things aren't looking good for Alif at the end of this section - how do you think things will turn out?
Monday, September 15th