A Novel


In this critically acclaimed debut novel, the aftermath of war in all its power is revealed in the lives of survivors and their loved ones. Mark, a young war photographer, returns to New York after being injured in a brush fire. Shell-shocked, torn apart by grief and guilt, he finds that his experiences have created a gulf between himself and his loved ones. The first to notice is his girlfriend, Elena, who grows increasingly alarmed as his condition continues to deteriorate. She is the most surprised when her grandfather, Joaquin, the last person from whom Elena wants to accept help, turns out to be the one to understand Mark's trauma. The two men -- bearers of grievously deep secrets -- forge an extraordinary relationship that will ultimately lead to life-altering revelations.
This stunning novel is informed by Scott Anderson's experiences reporting on combat around the globe. Triage introduces a major new voice in American fiction.
  • Scribner | 
  • 240 pages | 
  • ISBN 9780684856537 | 
  • November 1999
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Reading Group Guide

Discussion Questions

1. Initially, Elena is "able to live with the worry by telling herself that what Mark did was important, even noble." Is a war photographers's job admirable? Or could it be considered exploitive? How do Mark's experiences highlight the difficulty of being an observer -- instead of a participant -- in war? Compare and contrast Mark's career with Elena's job as a refugee program coordinator at the UN.
2. Is it wrong for Colin to travel into a war zone and endanger his life while Diane is pregnant with their first baby? Discuss the impact of dangerous careers on spouses and children. Why do you think Mark is so adamant about wanting to have a baby with Elena when he returns from Kurdistan?
3. When did you begin to suspect that Mark might know more about Colin's fate than he first admits? Do you think he deliberately withholds his knowledge of Colin's death or subconsciously blocks it from memory?
4. Joaquin Morales is disdainful of traditional psychotherapy and dismissive of Elena's suggestion that Mark see a "real" doctor. Yet Joaquin's "cure" helped patients at his institute and seems to work for Mark as well. What do you think of "Dr." Morales' unique approach to therapy? How would you describe his methods? What does the book as a whole seem to say about the field of psychology and the nature of expertise?
5. Joaquin Morales says: "There is no salvation, Mark see more