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288 pages, Hardcover
First published January 3, 2017
"Maybe if I'd been someone else I'd see it differently. But isn't that the crux of the problem? Wouldn't we all act differently if we were someone else?"
“The out-of-towners had a thing about calling everybody by name, preserving some ritualized belief in small-town hospitality. They called Mr. Korhonen, the Finnish grocer who wore a crisp white shirt every day of his life, Ed. they called Santa Anna [an older waitress] at the diner, Annie, Anne. Sweetheart.
‘If it isn’t Jim’s girl,’ they said to me, ‘all grown up’. . . complete strangers said this to me, people I’d met maybe twice or three times – years ago, when I was a little kid – back when my dad picked up summer work as a guide. As if they weren’t interchangeable to me, like geese, like birds with their reliably duplicate markings. I marvelled that I could seem so particular and durable to them. So distinct.”
“I made my way home from the bus stop at a rigid trot. I crunched along the snowpacked trail, felt the wind come off the lake in blasts, heard the pines groan and creak overhead. Halfway up the hill, my lungs started to feel raggedy. My face changed into something other than face, got rubbed out. When I finally got to the top of the hill, when I slowed down to brush the ice from my nose, I saw a puff of exhaust across our lake. I had to squint against all that white to make it out.”