1. This title is taken from the 18th century work by Daniel Defoe, writing in response to the outbreak of bubonic plague in London. What connection is the novel making between the effects of terrorism and the effects of the plague?
2. In her novel Due Preparations for the Plague Janette Turner Hospital shows the fine line between a quest for truth and a dangerous obsession. Do you think Samantha crosses the line?
3. How do terms like ′necessary rituals of risk′ and ′acceptable collateral damage′ remove an emotional connection from a situation? What other examples come to mind from the daily media?
4. In the book the character Mather Hawthorne quotes Camus and states, ′there are more things to admire in men than to despise′. Does the novel bear this out?
5. From your reading of the novel, how much do you think the actions of one person can influence the larger world?
6. Though it is never entirely clear whether the deaths of the child survivors of Flight 64 are due to suicide or are, more ominously, ′arranged accidents′, it is clear that major childhood trauma has terrible lifelong repercussions in terms of depression and derangement (e.g. Cassie′s life in an asylum; Jacob′s withdrawal and depression). Is this consistent with your knowledge of the after-effects of trauma from other sources? Dows the novel point to hopeful directions for survivors of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder?
About Janette Turner Hospital