Before You Know Kindness
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Chris Bohjalian, bestselling author of Midwives, presents his most ambitious and multi-layered novel to date--examining wildly divisive issues in today’s America with his trademark emotional heft and spellbinding storytelling skill.On a balmy July night in New Hampshire a shot rings out in a garden, and a man falls to the ground, terribly wounded. The wounded man is Spencer McCullough, the shot that hit him was fired–accidentally?–by his adolescent daughter Charlotte. With this shattering moment of violence, Chris Bohjalian launches the best kind of literate page-turner: suspenseful, wryly funny, and humane.
part! I’m Mary Lennox!” “Wow, that’s pretty big news. Congratulations!” He raised his eyebrows as he spoke, taking in the information. “Yup. Can I use the phone, I’m going to call—” “Hold on, hold on. Tell me all the details. I want to hear everything.” “Do you really have time?” she asked, a reflex before she could stop herself. In the past, her father never had time for details. Before the accident, she either would have left this news for him on his voice mail at FERAL or told him at
dogs present, and every single one of them seemed to be barking desperately for his attention. The animals in their pens were so loud that he and Randy and Heather Conn, their guide at the shelter, had to shout to be heard over the din. And while Spencer considered any number of the smaller dogs there—the mutts who seemed to be largely terrier, spaniel, or beagle—simply because they would be easier for him to manage with only one arm, he was drawn to this serene miniversion of Lassie. He decided
massive. It sat on a corner of the twenty-ninth floor, high enough that the east-facing windows offered an ashy view of the East River and the dusky, saddle brown warehouses, industrial waste, and municipal detritus that stretched toward the sunrise—and, indeed, the sun was rising now—on the water’s far bank. There were panels in the walls behind which sat a wireless Panasonic projector, a Polycom view station for teleconferencing, a prohibitively expensive Toshiba DVD player, a forty-two-inch
soon (once again) they had moved. In truth, Spencer knew, it had nothing to do with that dog. It was odd, but he was convinced that one of the things that had led him to stay at Sugar Hill for entire summers in college after Catherine had first drawn him north was the reality that Catherine’s father had passed away, which meant that her parents would never be squabbling there. Sometimes he thought this was an even more visceral part of the property’s attraction than the fact that the house had
he’s here.” She felt a small shiver of alarm, and she made a conscious effort not to cross her arms before her defensively. She wanted to say, You spoke to everyone last night! but she was able to restrain herself. Still, Howland must have detected her sudden discomfort because he added quickly, “I just want to cross a few t’s and dot a few i’s, ma’am. Your niece and your daughter were pretty shaken after the accident—your husband was, too, of course—and so I wasn’t as thorough as I would have