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The cafemadrid Book Club pick for June is The Immortal King Rao

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In June, the cafemadrid Book Club reads the playful, provocative and thoughtful new novel The Immortal King Rao, by former Wall Street Journal tech reporter and New Yorker business editor Vauhini Vara. Part intimate family drama, part technological allegory, and part alternate history became dystopia, The Immortal King Rao spans centuries and continents to paint a devastating portrait of life under technological capitalism.

King Rao was born in the 1960s on a South Indian coconut plantation. He dies – his daughter Athena tells us from her prison cell – more than a century later, after she abolished the nation-state as a system of government and ruled the world as global CEO. Now his daughter Athena tells his life story. Her hope is that it will become a manifesto that will save humanity on the brink of extinction from climate change. But the world isn’t exactly eager to hear Athena’s story.

This is an intoxicating, ambitious novel, brimming with ideas. Let’s unpack them together. At the end of the month we will meet Vara live on Zoom, and you can comment here† Meanwhile, subscribe to the cafemadrid Book Club newsletter to make sure you don’t miss anything.

The full cafemadrid Book Club schedule for June 2022

Friday June 17: Discussion post on The Immortal King Rao published on

Thursday, June 30, 5 p.m. ET: Virtual live event with author Vauhini Vara† Reader questions are encouraged!

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