The Twilight Prisoner
by Katherine Marsh
About the book:
After traveling to New York City’s ghostly underworld, Jack Perdu has made it back aboveground, to join the living. But if he’s alive, why is he still seeing ghosts?
Jack tries hard to fit in at his new school—and tries even harder to win the affections of his Latin classmate and friend, Cora. In an effort to impress her, Jack leads Cora to the entrance of the underworld and makes a terrible mitake. Soon they have crossed the threshold—and this time, there may be no getting back.
Like The Night Tourist, this exciting sequel blends together the modern-day world and mythology—this time brilliantly weaving in the myth of Persephone and Eros.
About the author:
Katherine Marsh is the Edgar-Award winning author of The Night Tourist. She is currently the managing editor of The New Republic magazine, where she edits articles on politics and culture. A native of the Empire State and a Yale graduate she lives in Washington, D.C. with her husband and two cats.
- Why doesn’t Jack share the truth with Cora, the girl he likes? Would you? How would you cope with seeing ghosts everywhere?
- What does Jack do to prepare for his date with Cora? From the outset how are things not as he hoped? How does he try to impress them?
- Describe what happens at Columbia. What happened to Austin? Why does Cora’s home life complicate the adventure for her?
- Where does Jack find Euri? Describe the therapy session led by “Shorty” Snowden. What teachers and skills would you pursue in the afterlife?
- How would you feel if you were Cora? Do you think Jack should’ve kept the truth from her for so long? Why is time such an enemy for the pair? Would you be willing to risk your life to have this adventure or not?
- Why does Euri haunt that young musician? Why is she so angry with him? How does she show her displeasure? In the story,why do ghosts haunt places?
- The group runs into the poet W.H. Auden in the library. What is he doing? Do you agree that changing one word can alter the entire meaning of a poem? Who would you most like to meet in the afterlife?
- What obstacles does the trio run into while trying to find their escape? Which chapter did you find the most exciting? How do authors build excitement and keep a reader turning pages?
- Despite Cerberus constantly looking for them the trio does manage to have some fun in the city too. Describe their adventures. What would you do in the city if you could fly there and get in without admission?
- How does the past of New York City’s construction end up being the key for Jack and Cora’s escape? Who reveals this? Why is the park a place of regret and pain for Viele? What does he reveal for their escape plan? Why doesn’t Jack take it?
- How does the line from the Auden poem, “If equal affection cannot be/ Let the more loving one be me” have significance for Jack’s life? Why are things complicated for Jack in the romance department?
- In the end, what happens to all the three explorers? What future does Euri face? Do you think Jack and she will have a further connection?
Good readers stay tuned in as they read by making predictions based on what they know about the characters and their motives and the elements of storytelling. As you read The Twilight Prisoner, make a prediction at the end of each chapter in the form of a question.
Katherine Marsh writes with great sensory detail. These sentences from chapter three are a great example:
“The doughy scent of H&H bagels; the refrigerated vegetable odor of an air-conditioned grocery store, the fume of hot brake pads drifting up from the subway grate; the sweaty earthy pungent smell of…” (p. 27)
Write a description of your own town, city or rural location and be sure not to ignore the sense of smell that is very powerful!
Research the history of New York City especially the displacement of Native Americans and Immigrants in its development and expansion. Or, research the history of your own city or town and see if you can discover the displacement of other groups in the name of progress.
Draw, paint, or digitally create a scene set in the underworld described by Katherine Marsh.
Study the importance of water as a resource for cities across the United States. Why could water be a resource of major importance in the next century?