Due Preparations for the Plague: A Novel
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Due Preparations for the Plague: A Novel

3.69 of 5 stars 3.69  ·  rating details  ·  271 ratings  ·  42 reviews
Janette Turner Hospital's electrifying novel chronicles the lives of two strangers connected by the tragic loss of parents in a hijacked Paris-New York flight. As an adult, Samantha, one of the children set free by the terrorists, has become obsessed with the hijacking. Under the guise of her senior thesis, she pulls Lowell, the son of a victim, into a web of terror, death...more
Paperback, 432 pages
Published July 17th 2004 by W. W. Norton & Company (first published 2003)
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jo
Jul 17, 2014 jo rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: jennifer, simon, mike, wilhelmina, nikki, peter, jean, emilie, linda, rashida... everyone!
Recommended to jo by: the title
Shelves: 9-11, trauma, blew-my-mind
this book plain blew me out of the water. i must say that i listened to it, and that i just discovered the pleasures of listening to audiobooks, something i previously considered anathema. i am a slow reader and i like savoring sentences and reading them over and over. so it was a while before i found the right book to listen to, and this one was great because the reader reads slowly and doesn't do too much silliness with the voices (though i had to wonder why they picked a male reader for a boo...more
L
I don't have a category for this one. Thriller? Oh, yes. Terrorists? Yes. CIA? Named, but not specified, though obviously yes, again. Survivors? Oh, yeah. Obsession? That, too. Denial? Yes, of course. All these elements are here, yet it isn't really about any of of these, per se. It's about people, relationships, and getting through/past a horrific event; some do, some don't. It's all very complicated. The characters are richly drawn. Be aware that once you begin, the book will not let you put i...more
Pauline
In Due Preparations for the Plague, Lowell is being pressured by Samantha to speak with her. She is a survivor of an airplane hijacking from thirteen years ago, the same one that took the life of Lowell’s mother. As the anniversary of the hijacking draws near, Lowell’s father passes away, entrusting Lowell with a locker key, its contents consisting of documents and videos from the past. As Lowell realizes what is in his possession, Samantha and Lowell attempt to uncover the truth behind the hija...more
Lori L (She Treads Softly)
Due Preparations for the Plague by Janette Turner Hospital focuses on characters that all have one thing in common: they all have some connection to a plane that was hijacked by terrorists thirteen years earlier. When he was sixteen, Lowell's mother was on the flight and killed during the hijacking. Lowell's life is still tormented by her death. Samantha is a survivor. She was a six year old child and allowed off the plane. She is searching declassified documents connected with the hijacking and...more
Lynne
a good "geopolitical thriller," as they like to say. should a book about an airplane hijacking be read while on an airplane? i don't know. on the one hand, it makes you suspicious of all your fellow passengers every time they get up, on the other hand, nothing happening to you on the plane---middle seat, crying baby, turbulence, flight delays---could be as bad as the condition endured by the passengers in the book, making you feel like the flight you're on is okay.
Sam Hopgood
What a corker. Dark, absorbing, brilliantly written. It sucked me in from the get-go and never let up. Highly recommended.
Vera VB
Een kaping/aanslap op een vliegtuig van Air France. De kinderen die aan boord waren zijn vrijgelaten, alle anderen zijn omgekomen. Zoveel jaren na datum zoeken de kinderen elkaar via een forum terug op. Ze willen er zijn voor elkaar. Niet met alle kinderen gaat het zo goed. Sam praat de anderen aan dat er een doofpotoperatie aan de gang is, dat ze gevolgd worden, dat hun leven in gevaar is. De vader van Lowell heeft iets achtergelaten voor hem, documenten en videobanden. Er is een andere partij...more
Oscar
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Stephanie
Interesting premise, which I won't reveal, but let's just say if you are a conspiracy theorist and think the moon landing was a hoax, then you may be interested in this book.

A plane is hijacked in the mid 80s and the only survivors are the children who were released prior to the fatal explosion. Fast forward 13 years and this group of children are now young adults, trying to live their lives with not only the memory of watching the plane blow up, but also with the emotions that go along with bei...more
Aaron
I found this novel for a dollar at a used book sale. I had been curious about the novel for a while, and figured that if it wasn't any good, I could always trade it in at one of the local used stores and get back more in store credit than I spent on the damn thing in the first place.

Uh...no. I'll be keeping this book.

The basic plot description is simple: In September of 1987, a militant Middle Eastern organization hijacks an airplane out of Paris. After two days, they release all the children....more
kp
I don't often read thrillers, but I was drawn to this because of the title. And I suppose it's not the usual churn-it-out formulaic thriller, but one with some literary pedigree. It was a completely absorbing novel about terrorism and, indeed, about terror: the terror of losing what we value or of being what we cannot value. Hospital winched the tension tight and crafted sensitive, believable characters. The scenes of terror and the aftermath of those left behind are rendered with breathtaking a...more
Trish
I read this weeks ago, but I didn't review it because it's so amazingly good that I can't think of much to say except "read this book."

So, um, read this book. It's about terrorism, U.S. foreign policy, and family secrets. It ends with a sequence of pitch-perfect horror.

How is it possible to live ... with so much stuff that you can't pick up and move on like that?

The dead never stop telling us stories. Those whom we have betrayed, no matter how pure our intent, how scrupulous our reasons, they te...more
Ben Thurley
I really enjoyed this. Gripping and emotionally resonant, a thoughtful and haunting thriller –although for me slightly spoiled through the creakiness of a couple of the plot contrivances.

Due Preparations for the Plague is the story of survivors of a hijack and relatives of those killed in the event, and how their lives are bound together of through devastating losses, concealed truths, and their common orbit as satellites around those who would use, abuse and destroy anyone for their own ends.

A...more
Kallie
Hospital is an interesting writer. I would say that her imagery is gorgeous. But that is a problem for me, because the characters tend to flatten in her atmosphere. Not that they aren't interesting or well-drawn, but they are more like types and I prefer characters that seem so real, I wonder what they are doing as their lives 'continue' after I finish the book. (This has nothing to do with them living ordinary lives; Valerie Martin's characters live far from ordinary lives, yet they seem real t...more
Jane Routley
Read this as an audio book and wondered if the book was all there when it finished. Honestly this one promised so much and delivered so little even if it was well written.
Angela
Gripping, memorable, extremely well written and quite dark and disturbing. Reading this book came to mind in the light of Malaysian Flight MH370- scary stuff.
Scotchneat
This was on my list "to read" for a while, so I was a bit disappointed that I didn't like it more.

The synopsis is that Lowell the main character, inherits some files from his more than paranoid father related to the death of his mother during the hijacking of Air France 064.

And there's a woman named Sam who wants him to help her track down what happened.

The language is quite heavy - perhaps reflecting the psychological state of the characters as well as the mystery of what really happened to th...more
Marjo Loyens
A dark thriller. The novel really gets under your skin and leaves you rather paranoid. A compelling, heart-breaking read
Trish Lunt
Shocking in parts. But good. And certainly a keep-reading one.
Jessica
This book was phenomenal! Heartbreaking, thrilling...fantastic characters, a riveting plot around international terrorism, and a devastating middle third set in a hostage bunker that was maybe some of the best writing I've read in the past several years. The author very cleverly scatters clues and indicators throughout the story, some of which she ultimately pieces together for the reader, and some are laid to make the reader work, and reach their own deductions regarding a few mysteries that re...more
ilnyb
Well-crafted, absorbing and generally thoughtful. What else could you want?
Lynn
I gave this book two stars instead of one b/c I finished it, but I regret it. The characters were paranoid making the writing style hard to adjust to at the beginning. There were two characters that had a chapter each to describe their lives and actions and I don't feel that it contributed to the overall story and felt forced. This book could have been a good action book, but nothing really panned out, (characters were being chased, apts being torn apart for information) but there was no real cl...more
Emma
An amazing and outstanding exploration of survivors guilt and the devastation caused when the hijacking of a plane by terrorists results in the deaths of over 400 people. There are elements of spy thriller as the children who were released from the plane band together adults, trying find answers to the possible US security agencies involvement in their parents death. However, if that's all you read into this novel then you are missing so much more and ought to try again. It really is an astonish...more
Jeanette
The subject of this book - the trauma resulting from being involved in an act of terrorism - was so harrowing, sorrowful and saturated with evil that it was impossible to 'enjoy' - the writing was excellent, characters well developed but I found it disturbing to read and then the ending was just a little too 'happy' after all the agony. This author has been recommended to me by people whose opinion I respect so I will try another of her books to decide on whether I want to read her further
Teresa D
A book which deserves 4 and a half stars. Harrowing, disturbing but also uplifting. Will most certainly read more from this author.
stephanie
i read this when it was first released in paperback. i hope i still have my copy of it saved somewhere.

regardless, it's a bit tragic. it's psychologically intense and suspenseful, which is probably what i liked best.

a plane was hijacked, and everyone died, except for the children released early on. there's conspiracy, subtle reveals and quick, harsh reveals, and an ending that haunted me for days.
Andrea

This story was about an intricate conspiracy and duplicity, no one writes quite like Janette Turner Hospital. The book is both complicated and absorbing at the same time. This is definitely one that I have been considering reading again to gain a better understanding. The author is an excellent writer who keeps things tight and intriguing. If you like a suspenseful read this is for you!
Leann Thompson
I tried. I really did. It started out really good.... but I did get more that half-way through when I finally gave up. I was no longer really reading the pages, just skimming through to find something to re-capture my interest.

I have only given up on one other book, this is extremely rare for me to do!
Emily
Surprise thriller. Started off incredibly strong - was sucked in by page 3 -- but lost it toward the end and got a little contrived, and a little snuff-film creepy. I just finished the book and am feeling mostly disappointed, but if I'd reviewed it in a few days instead, I might have starred it higher.
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Born in 1942, Janette Turner Hospital grew up on the steamy sub-tropical coast of Australia in the north-eastern state of Queensland. She began her teaching career in remote Queensland high schools, but since her graduate studies she has taught in universities in Australia, Canada, England, France and the United States.

Her first published short story appeared in the Atlantic Monthly (USA) where i...more
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