Mysterious Skin: A Novel

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9780060926861: Mysterious Skin: A Novel

At the age of eight Brian Lackey is found bleeding under the crawl space of his house, having endured something so traumatic that he cannot remember an entire five-hour period of time.During the following years he slowly records details from that night, but these fragments are not enough to explain what happened to him, and he begins to believe that he may have been a victim of an alien encounter. Neil McCormick is fully aware of the events from the summer. Wise beyond his years, curios about his developing sexuality, Neil found what he perceived to be love and guidance from his baseball coach. Now, ten years later, he is a teenage hustler, a terrorist of sorts, unaware of the dangerous path his life is taking. His recklessness is governed by idealized memories of his coach, that unexpectedly change when brian comes to Neil for help and, ultimately, the truth.

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About the Author:

Scott Heim's fiction and poetry have appeared in many literary magazines and anthologies, including the upcoming Best American Gay Fiction. One of the picks in The New York Times Magazine's feature of "Thirty Artists Under Thirty to Watch," he holds degrees from the University of Kansas and Columbia University and lives in New York City.

From Publishers Weekly:

"The summer I was eight years old, five hours disappeared from my life"?so runs the catchy opening to Heim's impressive first novel. The speaker is Brian Lackey, now a troubled teenager, once an introverted kid growing up scared in the small town of Hutchinson, Kans. The reason for his memory lapse and his fear, as we and Brian learn during the course of the novel, turns out not to be the space aliens that he first suspects, but his molestation at the hands of his Little League coach. The key to Brian's reclamation of those lost hours is homosexual hustler Neil McCormick?the slugger on that Little League team and an accomplice to Brian's sexual abuse. Working its way over the course of a decade toward Brian and Neil's reunion, the narrative unfolds through chapters whose points of view alternate among Brian, Neil and a handful of their siblings and confidants. Heim makes numerous freshman mistakes, including a relatively static narrative, prominent characters who outlive their usefulness and occasional lapses in the writing. He also creates scenes of genuine beauty, however, and handles his complicated characters and delicate subject matter with calm assurance.
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