The Question (ID Number 145)...
...and the response:For a novelist, choices like these are almost always strictly functional. Shirin's affliction "works." It's terminal, incurable, but not necessarily incapacitating. It's distinctive (because of the butterfly) and unusual (unlike cancer or AIDS). It's also sufficiently rare that a research and treatment center would not be found in every city in the world (again unlike cancer and AIDS). It had to fulfill all these functions.
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