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Due Preparations for the Plague

3.71  ·  Rating Details ·  392 Ratings  ·  55 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, deat ...more
Paperback, 416 pages
Published 2004 by HarperCollins Canada (first published 2003)
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Jun 13, 2009 jo rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: jennifer, simon, mike, wilhelmina, nikki, peter, jean, emilie, linda, rashida... everyone!
Recommended to jo by: the title
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
Nov 29, 2013 L rated it really liked it
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
Lori L (She Treads Softly)
Aug 14, 2011 Lori L (She Treads Softly) rated it it was amazing
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
This won a bunch of awards. I hated it.
Nov 30, 2009 Pauline rated it liked it
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
Jan 21, 2008 Lynne rated it really liked it
Shelves: recommended
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.
Jan 18, 2017 Fred rated it did not like it
If I could I would give this 1/4 of a star. It made me think but I could not get past the writing style, many plot holes, and lack of character consistency. Overall it was hard to read and I regret reading it.
Jan 27, 2017 Tricia rated it really liked it
A very unique read.
Apr 30, 2009 Oscar rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 13, 2016 Tracey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Due preparations for the plague is a complicated entanglement of people who are linked to the hijacking and destruction of plane and its aftermath.
This is a thriller that gathers you in page by page. Lowell's whose mother was on the plane, is trying to keep his life together, deal with the recent of his father and avoid facing the reality of the situation. Samantha was a child on the plane who was allowed to disembark. She is seeking answers to what happened but really does not know what she is
Feb 24, 2010 Stephanie rated it liked it
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
Alumine Andrew
Nov 17, 2014 Alumine Andrew rated it it was amazing
What an incredible read! This author is the best discovery of the year for me, her work so well crafted and her stories draw me in and keep me engaged.

This novel is like a circular vortex, a slowly turning whirlpool which centres around one event, the highjacking of Flight 64. We move around this slowly twisting plot, nothing is as it seems. I have enjoyed other circular rather than linear telling of stories and this one is one of the best.

The hijacking of Air France flight 64 took place twent
Oct 09, 2007 Aaron rated it it was amazing
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. 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.
Sep 11, 2011 kp rated it really liked it
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
Dec 01, 2007 Trish rated it it was amazing
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
Ben Thurley
Nov 03, 2012 Ben Thurley rated it liked it
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.
Feb 02, 2014 Kallie rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
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
Jan 16, 2016 Vanessab rated it really liked it
Well, I am very glad I have finished this book. I can see why it has won awards - and I can also understand why other readers hate it. It is very, very dark. It is well written and the characters are sensitively drawn. It is, in parts, a real page turner although some of the lecture notes are a little heavy handed. The novel portrays the world of espionage, terrorism and political manipulation in an alarmingly good and real fashion.
It also explores the consequences of an horrific experience on a
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
Jan 17, 2010 Scotchneat rated it it was ok
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
May 02, 2015 Kate rated it liked it
This book opened very strongly. And for the first few chapters I was captivated, although becoming squirmy at the intensity of Lowell's emotional anguish. This was, however, a strength of the early book, the fully realized characters. Then the plot took over. The plot is exciting, no doubt about it. I became frightened enough to consider never flying again. As the book progressed I also became distressed at the information being shared, but it can be found anywhere. The plot overwhelmed the char ...more
Jan 05, 2015 Marita rated it really liked it
Written I think as a post 9/11 book, this is set in 2010 and 1987. It is about the longreaching effects of a traumatic incident, in this case a plane hijacking. Survivors and relatives - mostly children of the victims - are the central characters here. Now adults they all suffer anxiety, depression, or obsession with theories about the incident, as all has nee been revealed. I was juggling a lot of responsibilities and highly anxious when I started listening to this - why hadn't I chosen another ...more
Michel Dignand
Nov 14, 2014 Michel Dignand rated it liked it
Shelves: given-up
Janette Turner Hospital is, of course, a famous author with many successful books to her name. And I think she writes very well, generally.

But in this book the story seems muddled, chaotic. I found it hard to tell who was speaking, hard to connect the characters, hard to tell when things were happening.

Sure, the story is one of deception, lies, tangled webs and all that, but I found it disappointing.

Must try harder (am I speaking of Hospital or me? Not sure.)

I persisted until perhaps the las
Mar 20, 2009 Lynn rated it it was ok
Shelves: why
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
Jul 30, 2011 Emma rated it it was amazing
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
Aug 08, 2010 Jessica rated it it was amazing
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
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.
Estela Anders
Sep 06, 2015 Estela Anders rated it it was amazing
Once again I find myself in awe of Janette T.H.'s talent. This is a beautifully crafted very powerful book about human interaction at every level: families, friendships, lovers, acquaintances, governments and global interests. It's about the forces at play behind the scenes and the long lasting effects on the lives of everyday people- puppets to be manipulated and collateral damage. A pleasure to read.
Feb 29, 2012 Jeanette rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
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
Apr 11, 2012 Andrea rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

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!
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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
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