Book of the month
Author Suanne Laqueur can be reached at suanne@suannelaqueurwrites.com. She is always happy to Skype into book clubs to discuss her novels. Don’t hesitate to get in touch!

Use these discussion questions to guide your next meeting.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Juleón "Jude" Tholet has survival in his DNA. His father, Cleon, lived through imprisonment and torture during Pinochet's military coup in Chile. His mother, Penny, risked everything to gain her husband's freedom and flee the country with their newborn son. But as a closeted gay teenager growing up in Vancouver, Jude is targeted by a neighborhood bully called El Cóndor, culminating in a vicious hate crime that forces the Tholets to flee their country again.

Jude cautiously rebuilds his life in Seattle, becoming an accomplished pianist, but his wings have been clipped and he cannot seem to soar in his relationships. Only family remains a constant source of strength and joy, until a DNA test reveals something that shocks all the Tholets: Jude is not their child.

Stunned by the test results, the Tholets must dig into their painful past, re-examine their lives in 1973 Santiago and the events surrounding Jude's birth story. It’s a tale rooted in South America’s Operation Condor. It spreads through Pinochet’s terrifying regime of detention camps, torture, disappeared civilians and stolen children. The journey forces Penny Tholet to confront the gaps in her memory while Cleon must relive an ordeal he’s long kept hidden away in a secret world. The tale ends with Jude digging through his genetic code in a quest to find his biological parents. Are they alive? Or are they among Los Desaparecidos—the Disappeared Ones?

Suanne Laqueur’s third book in the Venery series explores the desperate acts of love made in times of war, and the many ways family can be defined.

THE DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

“This will be a saga, not a tale.” Laqueur’s novels are known to cross genres. For those that indulge in neatly categorizing a novel under one label, how would you classify Condors? Dramatic historical fiction? Family saga? Romance? Contemporary fiction? Literary fiction? LGBT?


“The history of mankind is like one big love story.” Discuss how as young, closeted gay men, Jude and Feno suffer dire consequences within the Vancouver ex-pat community, and how those consequences shape their adult lives. How even accepted by his family, Jude is slow to come out in college and his experience being the victim of a hate crime affects his decision to track down his biological family.


Discuss Cleon and Penny’s lifetime love, mature love surviving unspeakable horrors, enduring the ebbs and flows of passion. How they opened their home in Chile to Ysidro and Tatan. How they raised their children with a strong sense of family identity, only to have their bond tested when they learn Jude is not theirs.


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