The Deaths: keeping up appearances

30 September 2013

Money and the desire to keep up appearances play a massive role in Mark Lawson’s novel The Deaths. So we’re inviting you to take part in a little social experiment around those themes

Would you rather earn £50,000 a year while other people make £25,000, or would you rather earn £100,000 a year while other people get £250,000? Assume that prices of goods and services will stay the same.

Decide for yourself, and then click here to see what the findings of the official experiment were.

Do you think the results of the survey would be different now that we’ve seen the full extent of the 2007-2009 financial crisis?

Are you after more topics of discussion around The Deaths? Look no further: Mark's editor Kris Doyle has come up with some questions which will keep you going for hours. We'd love to hear your answers to some of them - just post them in the comments section below.

1. The deaths are announced in the first page. Why do you think Mark Lawson chose not to identify the victims until much later in the book?

2. The opening line is ‘The deaths are discovered because of the nation’s obsession with perfect coffee.’ Do you think the UK is obsessed with coffee? Do you think there might be more to this observation than there seems to be?

3. Each section is narrated from the point of view of one character. How successfully did you think Mark Lawson defined each person, through their thoughts, their voice, their perceptions or otherwise? What problems can this limitation present to the reader?

4. Did you enjoy the use of linguistic effects in the writing, such as text speak or phonetic misspellings?

5. Did you find the book funny?

6. Did you feel sorry for any of the characters in the book? If so, which ones?

7. Why do you think Lawson chose to write about these very wealthy people from what is commonly referred to as ‘the one per cent’?