The Mercy of Thin Air
In 1920s New Orleans, smart and fearless Raziela Nolan is in the throes of a magnificent love affair when she suddenly dies in a tragic accident. Immediately after her death, she chooses to stay between -- a realm that exists after life and before whatever lies beyond it. From this remarkable vantage point, Razi narrates the story of her lost love, as well as the relationship of Amy and Scott, a young couple whose house she haunts seventy years later. Their trials finally compel Razi to slowly unravel the mystery of what happened to her first and only love and to confront a long-hidden secret.
The Mercy of Thin Air entwines love stories that echo across three generations culminating in a startling finish that will leave listeners breathless.
Reading Group Guide
1. The narrative structure of The Mercy of Thin Air alternates between the past and the present. How does this structure build suspense and pique a reader's curiosity about what will happen next? What insight do you get into the lives of Razi and the other characters because of the way the story is told?
2. How did Razi defy the conventions of society in the 1920s? If she had lived, do you think she would have fulfilled her dream of becoming a doctor, or set aside that ambition for marriage and motherhood? Given the time period, would it have been realistic for her to have done both?
3. Although she doesn't know it until after his death, Amy shares a pivotal experience with her grandfather. How did Amy reevaluate her life after she learned what happened to Poppa Fin? Does Amy come to better understand her grandfather after what she discovers about him?
4. Razi tells us, "Most of the ones who stayed between opted for the unknown -- what was beyond -- within weeks after their deaths." Why has Razi chosen to stay between decades after her death? What makes her decide it's finally time to go beyond?
5. Discuss Razi's friendship with Twolly. What is significant about the novel's ending, when Razi is at Twolly's bedside?
6. For years, Razi followed the life of a man she assumed to be her Andrew O'Connell. On some level, did she know he was the wrong person? She says, "I had never questioned whether I tracked the righ see more