The Four Corners of the Sky” by Michael Malone, now is a great time to spark some conversation. Let's get the conversation started with the following questions provided by our Big Library Read partner, Sourcebooks. This may help you think of your own questions to prepare for the Facebook chat with the author tomorrow (May 23rd) at 5 p.m. PDT.
1. Do you think Annie and her father are at all alike?
2. Raffy said, “That’s Jack’s gift. To make
you feel it. He was an artist…He did it for art.” Do you agree or
disagree? Could Jack be considered an artist? Do you think that was why
he did what he did?
3. Who does Jack love? How does he show it?
How do other characters in the book demonstrate love in different ways?
How do the important people in your life demonstrate love? How do you
show that you care about someone?
4. When Annie is 17, her father comes to
visit and wants her to come and meet him the night before she leaves for
Paris, but she refuses. Why doesn’t she go? Would you have gone in that
5. How does forgiveness play a role in
Annie’s relationship with her father? How does forgiveness play a role
in all relationships? Which of your relationships requires the most
6. Jack is famous for telling stories. Is
there a difference between the stories Jack tells to Annie and the ones
he tells to the people he’s conning? Are stories necessarily lies?
7. Jack promises to leave Annie a million
dollars. Of all the promises he made and broke, he keeps this one. Why
does he keep this particular promise? Is this the one promise Annie
would have chosen for him to keep? Which promise that Jack broke do you
think Annie would have traded for this one?
8. Like the puzzle at Pilgrim’s rest, there
are many different pieces of Annie’s life that have to come together
before she feels fulfilled. In the end, it was Dan who put the final
pieces together, who helped her make her life complete. What do you
believe it takes to make a life complete and fulfilling?
9. Annie said of her father: “He’s a crook.
That’s a fact.” to which Raffy replied: “Facts have nothing to do with
this.” Is Jack really just a criminal, or is there more to him than
Annie wants to admit? What kind of person do you think Jack really is?
10. Look at the family history, as told by Kim
in chapter 6. From “The Boss” to Annie, what traits do all the
Peringrine’s have in common? Are there any exceptions? What traits are
shared by your family? Are there any exceptions in your family?
11. Sam tells Clark that she wants Annie to be
happy. “Fall in love and be happy,” she says. Does falling in love
necessarily make people happy? Did it make Annie happy?
12. Annie spends much of the novel wondering
about her father and her ‘real’ mother, even though she has Sam and
Clark. Who is Annie’s family? How do you define family? Who makes up the
family that you have chosen for yourself?
13. What’s your opinion of Brad? Does the manner of his death affect your view of him?
14. Sitting at La Loca, Annie goes through her
father’s old business cards and admits that she loved him just as much
as everybody else who had fallen for his schemes, and that “love was the
biggest con there was.” Did Jack con Annie and the rest of his family?
Do you agree that love is a con? When have you felt conned by love?
15. Look at Clark and D.K.’s reaction to Annie
joining the Navy. Both of them are veterans of the Vietnam War, with
vastly different experiences and feelings toward the military. How has
that affected their views of world? If you know anyone who was or is in
the military, how has that service affected their world view?
16. When Jack covered up his father’s murder
with the fake suicide note, was he really protecting Sam? Or was it
about protecting his mother or himself? What would you have done in the
same situation? In what situations would you consider it acceptable to
evade or lie to the authorities?
17. Our history can shape who we are as people.
Jack and Sam came through a very sad and abusive childhood to grow into
very different people. How has your childhood shaped your present? Do
you have siblings that grew up with you, but turned out to be very
different from yourself? Why do you think that is?
18. Annie had been searching for her mother all
her life, while Ruth never knew she had a daughter. What do you think
Ruth and Annie were feeling as they sat across from each other at that
table in Cuba? How do you imagine you would have felt in Annie’s shoes?
19. Annie, Sam, Clark, and Jack all face death
or abandonment at some point in their lives. Sam takes comfort in
movies, Annie in speed. How has death affected each character’s approach
to his or her own life? Have you experienced a traumatic loss that
drastically affected your approach to your life? In what ways did your
behavior change after that loss?
20. Look at the different ways Sam and Annie
respond to the news that Jack might be dying. Compare them to the family
of Coach Ronny Buschstabe, whose funereal Annie accidentally attended.
Which family do you relate more closely with? Is there a “normal” way to
21. Annie started this story at 90 mph in her
Porsche and ended it walking down the aisle and then standing at a
grave. What happened to make Annie slow down in life? What events have
occurred in your life to encourage you to take things a little slower?
Did you always recognize those events or people at the time?