Chil­dren of Lies

May 16, 2017

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.

Discussion Questions

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?