Bad Medicine is the captivating tale of two men embarking on a road trip at the end of their lives. It is a rough and tumble ′buddy novel′ in the tradition of Jack Kerouac, William Kennedy and Hunter S. Thompson, and one which reveals the spells and old powers still working in the modern world.
Questions for Discussion
1. Critics have compared Bad Medicine with Jack Kerouac?novel On the Road. Is this an apt comparison, and if so why?
2. Bad Medicine depicts the clash ?nd interaction ?f a traditional culture with dominant white culture. How do they clash? How do they interact?
3. What does "counting coup" mean, and how does it function as a metaphor for Charlie Sarris?nd John Stranger?journey?
4. What is Bad Medicine? Does it become real in some way because people believe in it? Medicine implies healing. Can a journey of healing come out of "bad" medicine?
5. The eagle is a dominant motif in Bad Medicine. Dann even titles his afterword "A Gift of Eagles". How does this motif operate in the novel?
6. What does Dann mean by "shared hallucination"?
7. Do you think that the eagle in the sweat lodge was in some transcendent way "real"?
8. If Bad Medicine can be seen as a journey of self-discovery, what are the moral implications of the way this journey is conducted?
9. It has been said that magical realism has become part of modern life. How is this reflected in the novel?
10. The afterword indicates that Bad Medicine is partly autobiographical. How does this affect your reading of the book?
About Jack Dann