From the bestselling author of The Music Room, a deeply moving novel about lives changed forever in an instant of senseless violence.
On the way home from dinner in suburban Boston, Malcolm Vaughn is shot and killed by a stranger. His eight-year-old son, Harry, watches it happen. His wife, Sarah, holds Malcolm in her arms as he bleeds to death in the street.
Undone by shock and grief, Sarah retreats from the world, postponing her return to work as a research scientist and Harry's return to school. Harry appears to have come through the loss unscathed, until a troubling incident reveals his profound pain and confusion. Malcolm's best friend tries to help Sarah and Harry heal and move on, but he is struggling with his own personal crisis.
Recalling the emotional intensity of The Music Room, Singing Boy offers a close -- and often surprisingly funny -- exploration of the courage and frailties that bind these three people together. A story of sharp sorrow and persistent love, in which memory, forgiveness, and the generosities of time reshape a shattered world, it is a work of unforgettable resonance and power.
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On a March night in a quiet Boston neighborhood, Malcolm Vaughn, who is on his way home from a Historical Society dinner, is gunned down by a stranger while his wife and son watch. So begins Dennis McFarland's deeply interesting examination of grief. Demonstrating an uncanny ability to penetrate two very different psyches, the author focuses on the dead man's widow, Sarah Vaughn, and his best friend, Deckard Jones. The latter is a Vietnam veteran and former addict who's in the midst of his own unraveling as the novel begins. This blue-collar black man may seem like an unusual friend for the white, comfortably middle-class Vaughn family, yet McFarland's writing makes the relationship perfectly plausible.
It's a well-known phenomenon that a common loss doesn't necessarily bring people together. Employing a Rashomon-like alternation of voices, McFarland explores the same events from both Deckard's and Sarah's point of view. These two devastated people have nothing but good will toward each other, and both are worried about 8-year-old Harry and perplexed by his withdrawal and regression. Somehow, though, they can't avoid giving--and taking--offense.
An intensely subjective and surreal tone illuminates the interior lives of both of these characters. Sarah guiltily takes sleeping pills and muscle relaxants that make her "too groggy to drive the car and a little apprehensive in the kitchen, among sharp knives and open flames." Deckard, meanwhile, is having trouble with "a struggle for proper nouns, a tendency to leave his apartment without the keys, the habit of arriving in a room clueless about what brought him there." He's also haunted by his memories of Vietnam, a part of the novel that takes on a life of its own and leaves the reader wanting more. Indeed, there's an immediacy and an edgy humor to this side of the story that's missing from Sarah's more pastel journey. But Singing Boy is everywhere a work of unclichéd compassion, with the sometimes surprising revelation of goodness discovered in unexpected places. --Victoria JenkinsAbout the Author:
Dennis McFarland is the bestselling author of The Music Room, School for the Blind, and A Face at the Window. His fiction has appeared in Best American Short Stories and The New Yorker. He lives with his family in Massachussetts.
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Book Description Henry Holt and Co., 2001. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # M080506608X
Book Description Henry Holt and Co., 2001. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P11080506608X
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Book Description Henry Holt and Co., U.S.A., 2001. Soft cover. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. 1st Edition. RARE Advanced Reading Copy-Uncorrected Proofs-Not For Sale. 1st Edition-Stated. 1st Printing-Full # Line. New copy. Never read. Front cover has a small crease top right hand corner. Still a BEAUTIFUL copy of the Book & Cover. COLLECTOR'S COPY. Bookseller Inventory # 002181
Book Description Henry Holt and Co., 2001. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Thank you for your business. Bookseller Inventory # mon0000015162