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Eve and Manny are engaged in post-civil war Israel, but Manny has a secret: he’s falling in love with his religious roots and turning his back on moral relativism. As their wedding date approaches, Manny deserts Eve, and in the midst of this betrayal Eve collides with a pre-soul, leaving her with a choice: reconcile with Manny or else condemn a soul to never living. More than a decade later, Eve has her own secret, one that may save her only son’s life or else tear her family apart.

Book Club Discussion Questions for King of the Class

  1. Why do you think this book is set in the future? What was the author trying to achieve by doing so?
  2. Do you think there are good and bad characters in this book? If so, is Eve good or bad? What about her husband Manny?
  3. Do you think Eve has a good relationship with her sister? What was your opinion of their relationship once Eve's son is kidnapped?
  4. Some readers have suggested that Eve should divorce Manny and marry Elyakim. What do you think? 
  5. What will be the effects of a kidnapping on such a young boy? What should his parents do to mitigate those effects?
  6. Do you think it is possible that Israel could really have a civil war and divide into two states? What about your own country? At what point can a nation no longer be called one nation? Is it better to split up or to compromise once if your values are very different?
  7. Did this book change your perceptions about the Middle East? Would you call it an educational book? Do you think novels should be educational?
  8. What do you think of the title King of the Class? Does it adequately reflect the novel? To what does the word 'king' allude? Would you have chosen another title?
  9. Eve is the storyteller in this novel. How would the story have been different if her husband was the narrator?
  10. Eve and Manny, their relationship and their hardships are a microcosm of what is going on in the society around them. Was that theme strong enough in this book? Were other themes stronger? Which ones? 
Eve is alone in a kibbutz guest room. With her eyes closed she can smell Manny’s cologne on the pillow next to her and she sneezes. She reaches for a tissue as she recalls the sales robot’s assurance of only natural fragrances. Holding her hand up to the light, she smiles at her new ring. She turns her hand so that the diamond catches in the sunlight. The squared-off stone is flanked on both sides by each of their birthstones; for April babies that means two smaller, identical diamonds. Eve considers their shared birthstone a sign of fortune.

Reviews of King of the Class

  • Engaging Story

    I read this novel engaged all through with Gila Green's story of finding God in family relationships.

    Set in the near future in the Middle East, where Israel divides into two states, one secular and the other religiously following orthodox practices. Eve builds a life with her Rabbi husband Manny because she is visited by a yet-to-be-born son. In the second half of the book the son is in danger. Ms Green tells an engaging story while giving the reader insights into Jewish culture and practice.

    Lee Joanne Collins

  • A Breath of Fresh Air

    It has been a while since I have read such a unique novel. Gila Green paints a beautiful tale that follows a young woman through her philosophical challenges. This book is full of creativity as it is set in a future time, in a country that does not yet exist. Although the setting is foreign, the human characters' personality and motivations are easy to relate to. That contrast makes King of the Class a satisfying read.

    The cover combines various themes throughout the book. The blue eyes, that seem to be begging for attention, are a portrayal of Ben's blue eyes that follow Eve and propel her through her journey. The Israeli flag, which catches my attention next, is a hint as to where the story takes place. Although, it is not quite the Israel that we know today. The soldiers on the bottom of the cover can represent the physical battles in the book as well as the philosophical schism.

    The story line reminds me a bit of a Mary Higgins Clark book, in that you follow a character, meet her surroundings and peers, but do not know who will be most significant until the last few chapters. I also found it similar to a Higgins Clark book in that there is a touch of adult behavior, but nothing explicit.

    I would say that this book is great for someone looking for an atypical novel that will tickle your intelligence and allow your mind to wander.

    Ben H.

  • Gripping, A Real Page-Turner

    I just finished reading King of the Class. This is a novel I could not put down. It is fast-paced, witty and imaginative, yet deep and insightful.

    We are in Israel and the year is 2021. As an Israeli reader, I found this book to be very powerful as it captures the religious and political tensions in Israel with acuity and incisiveness. Yet, it is broader in scope. King of the Class is also about love, loss, and faith and will engage all readers.

    Green's vision of the future made me smile. I dream of the day when I too can own a cyberpet watch dog complete with roll-down screen eyelids and a robomaid that does carpool and cooks. However, her future Israel made me shiver. I sincerely hope this tiny country will never be split by hatred and civil war. We must take Green's vision to heart and think deeply about where Israel is heading.

    King of the Class presents a fine balance of magic realism, social commentary, humor and detective fiction. I don't want to give away plot details, so have a read and find out!

    Nicole Nathan

  • Unique and Excellent Book by one of Israel's Great New Writers

    Gila Green combines futuristic science fiction with a close, intriguing and comprehensive knowledge of Israel's past and present... the result is this unique and excellent book by one of Israel's great new writers.

    Sari Friedman

  • The King of Something Different

    Using masterful diction and dialogue, Green thoroughly explores all facets of how a single change within a relationship creates explosions within people. The explosions do not occur in a vacuum. They change everything around them. Roles, attitudes and perspectives are all touched. People have at least three choices when this happens. Accept them, reject them, or do nothing at all. Green examines the complexity of these choices within her characters and how they propel personal growth within them.

    The tale is a wonderful mix that follows in the tradition of early Sheri S. Tepper novels. Well written and rich with literary devices that involve all the senses, Green has written a novel that puts us inside a world we become part of and are reluctant to leave at the end. While it is a political satire set inside a slightly futurist world, one does not have to be familiar with either of those genres to enjoy the book. Green does an excellent job of showing us time and place in subtle ways that don't interfere with the plot. Since Green writes about universal themes with believable characters, the book has cross-over appeal.

    Holly Helscher

  • Welcome to the Fun House

    Our heroine Eve is a Canadian immigrant to a future Israel which has divided post-civil war into two states, one fundamentalist religious and one secular. Her fiancé Manny, a South African immigrant, disappears from her bed, blows her out at the appointment to choose wedding invitations, disappears for a week, then re-appears in a yarmulke and drops a bombshell: he wants to be religious and wants her to be religious too.

    It is no small feat to turn the religious lives of a few thousand Israelis into a drama you could make into a movie of the week. And the book is funny as well as angry and sad. Worth going along with for the wild ride.

    Atar Hadari

  • Hooked from First Sentence

    "Eve is alone in a kibbutz guest room. With her eyes closed she can smell Manny's cologne on the pillow next to her and she sneezes."

    From the first sentence I was hooked straight into Gila Green's debut novel, King of the Class. The author handles a large cast well and it is hard to choose a favorite character, although Eve stands out as the most appealing. She carries the story throughout,with her distinctive attitude towards Manny and responsibility to Ben, the soul, and later, Ben her son. Gila Green is a great storyteller; I could not stop turning the pages to see what happens next.

    I applaud Gila Green and was fascinated by her witty portrayal of the religious and cultural tension that is the backdrop of this book.

    Pia W.

  • Original, Interesting, Page-Turning and Thought-Provoking

    Gila Green's debut novel is absolutely captivating from the first page. It's original, interesting, page-turning and thought-provoking. It's a book you won't want to put down and one that you'll be thinking about when you have to. It's well-written with characters who jump off the page and into your heart.

    King of the Class is set in post civil war Israel in the future (although not too far into the future) and explores the lives of people living in a constant state of questioning their personal lives, religious beliefs and the government. There's even a bit of magical realism thrown into the mix, which makes this novel even stronger.

    This is one of those books that's almost impossible to predict: Green keeps readers guessing until the very end.

    Amazon Customer

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