When newly qualified doctor Michael Grant makes an error, and a young girl dies unexpectedly in his care, a mysterious chain of events leads him to believe that he may have discovered an entirely new disease. Unable to convince his colleagues, he sets out to gather evidence but is quite unprepared for the direction his quest will take him-into the wilderness of disease, religion and mystery-a journey that will lead him to question not only his belief in the order of the world, but his own place and purpose within it. With real suspense and subtlety, Frank Huyler's first novel is written with the spare precision and grace of his much praised collection about his medical experiences, The Blood of Strangers.
|Edition description:||First Edition|
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.72(d)|
About the Author
Frank Huyler is an emergency physician in Albuquerque, New Mexico and the author of the essay collection The Blood of Strangers (Picador).
Reading Group Guide
1. What is the role of mystery in the story? How does the book differ from conventional mysteries?
2. Who is the girl running in the woods at the end of the novel? What does she represent? Why do you think the author chose to end the story in this way?
3. What is the relationship between faith and science in the book? Do they have anything in common?
4. What is the role of race in the book?
5. Is Reverend Williams a good man? Is Ronald Gass? Is Michael Grant? How does the novel deal with questions of morality?
6. Early in the novel, Michael Grant goes to the beach and sees a school of bluefish feeding on the surface. Why is this scene significant? What are its larger implications?
7. Does the story have any parallels with Christian theology? If so, what are they?
8. There are many images of mirrors in the novel. How are mirrors related to some of the larger themes of the book?
9. Late in the novel, the illness is referred to as "just another whisper in the corner, another match struck in the underworld." What do you think the author means by this? What is the nature of the illness in the story? Is it real? Is it an allegory?
10. Ghosts appear in a number of places in the story. What purpose do they serve? What is their influence on Michael Grant?
11. In some ways the events of the story occur both in the everyday and in the underworld. Where is the cabin at the end of the book? Which world is it a part of, and why?