Discussion Questions

1. 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 Shapiro chose this particular quote? Do you believe it’s true? How did she weave this concept throughout the story?

2. Shapiro has a PhD in sociology. How do you think this affected the course of the novel?

3. Metropolis has an ensemble cast of six. Do you think this was the best way to tell this story? What did you like about it? What didn’t you?

4. 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 rounding out the characters?

5. The love story in the novel is between Liddy and Marta. Given their many differences, did this seem plausible to you? Do you hope they would be together in the end?

6. B.A. Shapiro lives in Boston, how do her feelings for her hometown get expressed throughout the book?

7. Metropolis centers around a self-storage facility in which people who never would have come into contact with each other begin to interact. Have you ever had an experience like this, meeting people who are outside of your comfortable world? Did you learn anything from the encounter? What do you think Zach, Rose, Liddy, Marta, Serge and Jason learned from each other?

8. Each of the six main characters—and a few of the secondary ones—have a secret. How do these secrets affect who they are and their actions throughout the novel?

9. The inciting incident of the novel is a person falling down an elevator shaft, an event that isn’t shown. You don’t find out who this person is until well into the story. Why do you think Shapiro decided to do this? Did it work for you?

10. Have you watched “The Race of Life” on YouTube? If so, what did you think of it?

11. Marta’s dissertation is based on some of the elements of this video. What do you think about her results? Do you believe that a parents socio-economic level while a child is growing up places the child at an uneven starting line? Can you think of people you know who this is true for? People who it isn’t? What are your thoughts on inequality in America today?

12. Do you think Liddy was right to disappear?

13. Do you think Marta’s decision to go to court was correct?

14. How about Rose’s decision to talk to Garrett?

15. Did you find the ending satisfying? What do you think Shapiro wanted you to take away from the novel?