The Dam­age Done

  • From the Publisher
September 1, 2021

Imag­ine a world devoid of vio­lence — a world where fists can’t hit, guns don’t kill, and bombs can’t destroy. In this tan­ta­liz­ing nov­el of pos­si­bil­i­ty, this has become our new real­i­ty. The U.S. pres­i­dent must find a new way to wage war. The Pope pon­ders whether the Com­mand­ment Thou Shalt Not Kill” is still rel­e­vant. A dic­ta­tor takes his own life after real­iz­ing that the vio­lence he used to con­trol his peo­ple is no longer an option. In the first days after the change, sev­en peo­ple who have expe­ri­enced vio­lence strug­gle to adapt to this rad­i­cal new par­a­digm: Dab, a bul­lied mid­dle school­er; Mar­cus, a high school stu­dent whose broth­er is the last vic­tim of gun vio­lence in Amer­i­ca; Ann, a social work­er stuck in an abu­sive mar­riage; Richard, a pro­fes­sor whose past makes him expect the worst in the present; Gabriela, who is mak­ing a dan­ger­ous bor­der cross­ing into the U.S.; the Emp­ty Shell, a dis­si­dent writer wait­ing to be tor­tured in a noto­ri­ous prison; and Julian, a white suprema­cist plot­ting a hor­rif­ic mas­sacre. As their fates inter­twine, the things each of the sev­en expe­ri­ence become emblem­at­ic of the promise and per­ils of the new world. The future holds bright new pos­si­bil­i­ties for end­ing ter­ror­ism, racism, and even hatred itself. But although vio­lence is no longer pos­si­ble, that doesn’t mean that some among us won’t keep try­ing. Mind­less cru­el­ty is still alive and well — and those bent on destruc­tion will seek the most devi­ous means to achieve it.

Discussion Questions