Robert Elgin has checked out of his life, rendered himself irrelevant, and become invisible. After stumbling upon a secret slush fund his political bosses have been skimming off the public, Elgin takes the money and runs ...
Runs from the corruption of machine politics.
Runs from the corrupting of his daughter, molested by a twelve-year-old neighbor.
Runs from his wife's obsession with grief counselors, rape specialists, being saved by Jesus, and putting the twelve-year-old behind bars.
Runs to New York, where he meets Carla, a doctoral student at Columbia, who, enmeshed in her own world of corruption, is also ready to become invisible, ready to run.
They hit the road, forgetting themselves, but back home in Michigan, where everything has fallen apart, Elgin's children must wonder what has become of their father. Of course he can't just leave them there. Of course he can't just run away. But he doesn't know how to go back either. And he has to.
A kinetic, spellbinding debut, Safe in Heaven Dead reveals a world of people struggling to do what's right when everything seems wrong, a world of people resisting surrender to the corruption that surrounds them, and a world, too, which, in the face of apparent hopelessness, somehow breeds hope.
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Samuel Ligon's stories have appeared in The Quarterly, Story Quarterly, Manoa, Other Voices, and the Cimarron Review. He lives with his wife and two children in Madison, Wisconsin.From Publishers Weekly:
Though Ligon's opening sentence reveals the catastrophic fate of the main character, this debut suspense novel instantly seizes and holds the imagination, even when one knows the final outcome. Moving back in time over the course of a year, Ligon reveals the story of Robert Elgin, who leads a quiet suburban life with his wife, Laura, and their children, five-year-old Carrie and two-year-old Tommy, in Oakland County, Mich. Their marriage is calm on the surface, though Ligon masterfully reveals subterranean fault lines. Robert is working as a union negotiator for the county when a cabal of political power brokers convinces him to negotiate a dirty deal that will boost the fortunes of the county executive in his run for governor. Soon afterward, he learns that his 12-year-old neighbor has sexually abused his daughter. Robert encounters a legal and therapeutic system that seems designed to further victimize Carrie. He and Laura become estranged as she embraces this world of misguided therapists and overzealous support groups. A revelation about the corruption of the county executive pushes Elgin to his breaking point; he steals his boss's illegal health fund and flees to New York City, where he ends up alone and adrift ("He was free. He was dead. He was alive. He was a machine"). He hires Carla, a Faulkner-reading high-priced call girl from whom he desires only companionship, and with whom he quickly falls in love. They find themselves struggling with overwhelming questions of morality, responsibility and remorse. Their response is to embark on a high-rolling road trip across America that will eventually lead them in a great circle back to Michigan, where they attempt to confront their respective pasts and alleviate their guilt. Few readers will remain unmoved by the agonizing questions that drive this story, and the tragedy with which the book begins and ends.
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Book Description Harper, 2003. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 0060099100
Book Description Book Condition: Brand New. Book Condition: Brand New. Bookseller Inventory # 97800600991071.0