September 1, 2021

This mas­ter­ful nov­el of psy­cho­log­i­cal sus­pense from the New York Times best­selling author of The Art Forg­er fol­lows a cast of unfor­get­table char­ac­ters whose lives inter­sect when a har­row­ing acci­dent occurs at the Metrop­o­lis Stor­age Ware­house in Cam­bridge, Massachusetts.

Serge is a home­less street pho­tog­ra­ph­er who sleeps in his stor­age unit; Mar­ta is an ille­gal immi­grant who seeks refuge from ICE by hid­ing in hers; Lid­dy camps out in hers after escap­ing her abu­sive hus­band; Jason is a lawyer who uses his unit as his office; Rose is the office man­ag­er who takes kick­backs; and Zach is the build­ing own­er is an ex-drug deal­er. When a fate­ful acci­dent occurs, these six very dif­fer­ent peo­ple, with seem­ing­ly no link to each oth­er beyond the Metrop­o­lis Stor­age Ware­house in Cam­bridge, Mass­a­chu­setts, see their pre­car­i­ous­ly bal­anced lives torn apart. But was it an acci­dent or some­thing else? Sui­cide, per­haps? Murder?

Discussion Questions

Cour­tesy of B.A. Shapiro

  1. Each of the six main char­ac­ters in Metrop­o­lis has a secret. How do these secrets affect who they are and their actions through­out the novel?

  2. Metrop­o­lis has an ensem­ble cast. Why do you think the author tells the sto­ry in so many voic­es? How much knowl­edge did you gain about Zach, Rose, Lid­dy, Mar­ta, Serge, and Jason through another’s view­point? Do you think this is an effec­tive way of explor­ing character?

  3. The author is a long­time res­i­dent of Boston, which plays a large part in this book. How are her feel­ings for her city expressed through­out the book?

  4. The epi­graph in Metrop­o­lis reads, An imbal­ance between the rich and the poor is the old­est and most fatal ail­ment of all republics.” Why do you sup­pose the author chose this par­tic­u­lar quote? Do you believe it’s true? How did the author weave this con­cept into the story?

  5. Were you famil­iar with The Race of Life,” the exper­i­ment Mar­ta cites in her dis­ser­ta­tion? Do you believe that their par­ents’ socioe­co­nom­ic lev­el places chil­dren at uneven start­ing lines? Can you think of peo­ple you know for whom this is true? Peo­ple for whom it isn’t? What are your thoughts on inequal­i­ty and oppor­tu­ni­ty in this country?

  6. Giv­en their dif­fer­ent back­grounds and life expe­ri­ences, did Lid­dy and Marta’s love sto­ry seem plau­si­ble to you? Do you think they will end up together?

  7. Was Lid­dy right to dis­ap­pear? Do you think she had oth­er options? Why do you think it took her so long to real­ize she was mistreated?

  8. Do you think Marta’s deci­sion to go to court was the cor­rect one? Were her depor­ta­tion orders fair?

  9. How about Rose’s deci­sion to col­lude with Gar­rett? Do you blame her for her choices?

  10. In the end, what do you think these char­ac­ters learned about them­selves from one anoth­er? To what extent do you feel they were the actors in their own dra­mas, and how much were the cir­cum­stances beyond their control?