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Lessons In Another Language

FOUR WAY BOOKS 2010

A Novella and Stories

"Rich narratives offering new, compelling translations of what it means to be a family in the modern world." Fore Word Reviews Book of the Year Award

"I didn't just read this book. It was one of the rare ones that could be savored. The flow of prose unwinding transparent and tensile as spider silk, lightness catching the light." Stuart Dybek

From the novella, Native and Strangers:


Summer vacation swooped in with the hot weather and trapped his sorry self in the sticky web of family. No regular meals, no state requirements, nothing at all to take him away from the pile of buildings after the bend on Quigg Hollow Road where the Deer Cutter sign stood at the silver mailbox. All those very important things all those very important people made him learn, once summer arrived, had no influence.

Math and science were useless. History might have had a purpose because Sam's father was a Vietnam vet, and history might help explain some things. But once the endless days got themselves going, his mother napping through the warm afternoons, which meant she was as good as gone when his father was raging in the kitchen, explanations didn't matter. He had to get low, stay quiet, very, very quiet, quiet as the dog Sunshine when he was watching a bug, and keep to himself. Not talking, not saying anything except those times when he was asked something directly. He was no different from the animals, including the insects, the birds, but mostly the insects. He was no different, certainly no better, and that wasn't a bad thing. It got him through the summer and up to the day school began again when he could rise from insect to human and think his way into all of those problems they tossed out. Like, what is the square root of 77? In summer it didn't make any difference it if it was 8.7 or minus 3. It made no difference at all.