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Suitcase City


A haunting Florida-based literary thriller in the tradition of Alfred Hitchcock.

$15.95 $11.96

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Discussion Guide for Suitcase City

1. What conventions of genre qualify this book as noir? What elements make it literary fiction?

2. Who is the most interesting and sympathetic character in the novel and why?

3. What opposing views of human nature do the characters hold and whose view, in your opinion, is the most defensible?

4. How does setting (time, place, atmosphere) enhance the story? Does “where the characters are” make them “who they are”?

5. How does race or social class inform the story? What answers, if any, does the author offer the reader to questions of class conflict?

6. James Teach, the protagonist of Suitcase City, states his position on preemptive violence: “Better to strike first than to wait. In a second you could be dead.” What is your position on this issue?

7. Suitcase City presents to the reader three levels of motivation for human action—the personal (people do things for reasons of love, revenge, loyalty, sacrifice); the public (people represent themselves as performers of civic duties and obligations); and the subconscious (people are not entirely aware of why they do things). Which type of motivation do you think the author considers most valid?

8. Most readers will agree that it is a difficult task for any novelist to write about a relationship between a widowed father and his teenage daughter. What do you think is the special nature of the bond between James Teach and his daughter, Dean?

9. Addiction is one of the themes of Suitcase City. What does the novel say about the various forms that addiction may take?

10. Sterling Watson has taught fiction writing in various settings for many years. He often tells students, “Make your bad characters good and your good characters bad.” Watson has said that he likes to write about “compromised characters.” How do you think readers react to such people in fiction? Do readers see them as “just like us, both good and bad,” or do characters of this kind make readers uncomfortable?