Almost Home

Atria Books  2009

 
Jordan Weiss, a veteran Jewish American intelligence officer, initiates reassignment to London for deeply personal reasons, and enters into a world she has done her best to forget for a decade. But when she steps off the plane and walks into a tangled web of Intelligence, terrorism, and organized international corporate crime dating back to the Holocaust, she learns that all of it has its roots dug fiercely into the past she had put aside. This is all I shall unfold of the plot of this highly readable novel. The pace of Jenoff ’s narrative, the perfect meter of her prose and the depth of the protagonist’s emotions are special because they rival the story itself, turning what could be a basic suspense thriller into a story that is both emotionally and adventurously satisfying.

Discussion Questions

from http://www.pamjenoff.com 


  1. While at Cambridge, Jordan was the only American in her group of friends. Did she feel fully accepted by her teammates, or was the fact that she was an American or a woman ever an obstacle? Did Jordan ever pretend to be someone she wasn’t?

2. “Chris once teased me about my sentimentality over what he called ‘a silly children’s film’ [Mary Poppins]. Still, perhaps he purposely chose our meeting place so close to the cathedral, since he knows how much I loved it” (pg. 62). Was this Chris’s plan? Does he attempt to manipulate Jordan throughout the novel?

3.After briefly reuniting with Chris, Jordan flees and notes “This is the second time I have fled in two days, and it isn’t like me” (pg. 72). Is this statement accurate? Consider Jordan’s career, which doesn’t allow her to stay in one place too long.

4.Jordan states that the only reason she returned to England was to care for her sick friend Sarah. However, she doesn’t spend much time with Sarah upon arriving. Is she simply too busy with work and finding the truth about Jared? What other reasons could there be?

5. Both Chris and Jordan note how driven Jared was. Why was he so determined to seek the truth?

6. A meeting would provide an emergency escape hatch if the day in Cambridge got to be too much” (pg. 87). Are there other examples in the book of Jordan taking precautions to protect herself? Do you think these measures are a result of Jared’s death, her work with the State Department, or something else?

7. Jared remarks to Jordan that Chris “can’t stand going home alone” (pg. 126). Is this true? If so, why? And why doesn’t Chris openly share his feelings with Jordan, either before her relationship with Jared or a decade later?

8. “Social justice, my father told me once at Passover, was our obligation as Jews, to free all people from the bonds of oppression as we had once been freed” (pg. 189). Is this desire what drives Jordan? Even though she says she’s not religious, in what other ways might her religion shape who Jordan has become?

9. What could be the reason for Jared strangling Jordan while the two are both sleeping?

 10. Why does Mo acquiesce to Ambassador Raines? How much of his plan was she aware of?

11. Several people end up betraying Jordan. When did you first become suspicious of these characters or the novel’s other twists? Is there anyone Jordan can truly trust?


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