Reading Group Guide

1.) After fulfilling domestic responsibilities, Grace essentially runs away from home to enjoy a “second lifetime” pursuing her interests. Have you ever wanted to do this? What would your second lifetime look like? Was Grace justified in her choice, or selfish?


2.) Grace discovers her spouse has had a clandestine life. How would this knowledge affect your relationship? Would you consider his/her silence betrayal? If so, how would/could you move forward?


3.) When Camels Fly is about doing the right thing. Put yourself in Grace or Maggie’s shoes: could you do what they did? What would you do differently, or the same?


4.) The first thing Grace does when she discovers Maggie’s kidnapping is rush to rescue her daughter. She doesn’t contact the authorities, wait for Mark, or collapse in a tearful heap on her dig-tent floor. What would you have done in this situation?


5.) Grace, as a Christian, believes her intuition is direction from the Holy Spirit. Do you have intuitive moments? To what do you attribute intuition? Do you rely on it?


6.) Both Grace and Maggie pay a price for their careers. Their choices largely reflect generational differences: Grace delays her career, while Maggie delays her personal life. Talk about the differences in these women, using their career tracks as a starting point.


7.) Mark clearly loves Grace, but has no idea how to deal with her. Talk about his perception of her work, their relationship, and her newfound independence. Is he threatened? Confused? Offended? Should Grace have done anything to make her transition easier for him, or was it just “his problem?”


8.) Members of MOSES chose to aid Mossad in return for a lifetime of dig permits. Do you think their choice was worth it? Why or why not?


9.) Compare and contrast David Spiedel, General Rosenthal, and al-Jafar. Are they equally evil? Products of their environments? Can a person be born evil?


10.) “Family” is a major theme of When Camels Fly: the Madisons, Rosenthal’s legacy, the MOSES “family” of theologians, Spiedel’s young family. To which of these families can you most easily relate? Talk about the attributes (good and bad) of each, and about what constitutes a family.


11.) Lastly, could you kill someone about to murder your child? If you are a person of faith, what do the tenets of your faith say about such a choice?

© 2013 N.B.Horton