The only thing certain in life is death. (Let’s face it, you can avoid paying taxes if you hire a clever enough accountant.) The nine guests in our story have to face deaths of different kinds before they can come out of their experience at Tranquillum House. Some of them are working through literal grief after the loss of a loved one. Others are coping with different kinds of losses, such as marriages and careers. And, of course, in the end, Masha forces all of them to face their fear of death when she pretends she’s going to murder them all. There's nothing like the threat of imminent demise to help you get your priorities in order.
Questions About Mortality
Compare and contrast Masha and Heather's reactions towards the death of their sons.
Frances says Tony "was a man who used to be someone, like Frances used to be someone" (222). How do these two characters bond over the loss of their status and careers?
Did you think one of the characters would die at the end of the book? Why or why not?
Chew on This
Whether they are dealing with the loss of a loved one or the loss of a lifestyle, the guests still mourn the way things used to be with the same intensity.
Masha believes that her near-death experience is the key to her transformation, so she comes to believe she must give this experience to her guests.