Glass Boys: A novel by Nicole Lundrigan

Glass Boys: A novel

byNicole Lundrigan

Paperback | June 21, 2011

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With vivid and unflinching prose, Nicole Lundrigan has created a suspenseful and deeply human saga of the persistence of evil and the astonishing power of love.

When Roy Trench is killed in a drunken prank gone wrong, his brother Lewis sees blood on the hands of the man responsible: the abusive alcoholic, Eli Fagan. Though the courts rule the death an accident, the event opens a seam of hate between the two families of Knife's Point, Newfoundland.

Desperate to smother the painful past with love, Lewis marries Wilda, and the pleasure he takes in their two children -- Melvin and Toby -- recalls the happier days of his childhood with Roy. But as he watches his small family fracture, the darkness of the past begins to cloud the present, leading Lewis back to Eli Fagan -- and his watchful stepson, Garrett Glass.

In the style of Newfoundland literature, established by Michael Crummey and Lisa Moore, Glass Boys is the haunting story of an unforgivable crime that brings two families to the brink.

About The Author

Nicole Lundrigan is the author of three critically acclaimed novels: Unravelling Arva, Thaw and The Seary Line. Her literary fiction has been selected as a top ten pick by the Globe & Mail, was long-listed for the Relit Award, and given honourable mention for the Sunburst Award. Raised in Newfoundland, she now lives in Ontario with her...
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Details & Specs

Title:Glass Boys: A novelFormat:PaperbackDimensions:304 pages, 8 × 5 × 1 inPublished:June 21, 2011Publisher:Douglas And McIntyre (2013) Ltd.Language:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1553657977

ISBN - 13:9781553657972

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From Chapter 1:No one is chasing him, but the Glass boy's heart still pounds as he runs through the woods, soles of his canvas sneakers slapping the soft earth. When he reaches the other side of the forest, he stops abruptly, removes his sneakers, steps onto a blanket of bright green grass. For a moment, he crouches to catch his breath, watches as a pair of pale cabbage moths flutter up from a dead stump. He hears a bird chirping, the branches moaning as they lift and fall in the breeze. The sun overhead is hot, and he closes his eyes, pulls a lungful of sweet air in through his nostrils. Heaven, he thinks. This sliver of land just before the water is my private heaven. Putting his hand to his forehead, he scans the woods, the visible length of the stream. He is alone, and he scampers to the edge, lays down on his stomach. Slides his arm over the grassy lip, and as his fingers wiggle through drowning roots, a handful of waiting tadpoles skitter and hide. He feels around. And for a moment, when he finds nothing, his heart strikes so loudly in his ears, the sounds of the stream and bird and creaking trees sink. But then his hand knocks it. Hard and slippery. It's there. Grunting, he pulls the pickle jar from the water, heavy with the rock weighting it down. He notes it is intact, no rust on the lid, no evidence of water damage to the treasure inside. No sign that someone else has touched it.After he dries the jar in his t-shirt, he looks around once again. Yes, yes. He is alone. Then he sits cross-legged on the grass, pinches the jar between his bare thighs, twists the lid with both hands. Even though he had washed the jar in hot suds, the faintest smell of vinegar still tweaks his nose. His breath is shallow as he reaches in, removes his tiny treasure. So valuable, but bought for only a handful of change.He hauls a handkerchief from his pocket, blankets the rotting stump, examines each item before laying it down. Too much, now, to see everything at once. To have it all exposed, recklessly, where a gust could arrive without warning, pilfer a piece of his perfect puzzle, carry it off to someone who might destroy it. Hands shaking, he scoops them up, clutches them to his chest. Imagines, for a moment, they hear his blood moving through his veins.Time folds, an hour dissolves, and the boy wonders if he might be missed. If the man might question his absence. He places the items in the jar, seals it. One last glimpse, his eyes, wide open, pressed to the heavy glass.He is dizzy when he stands, and he nearly drops the jar on a flat rock. Even though he is still holding it close to his breastbone, he cannot help but see it smashed, a spray of glass, his collection scattered. The very thought makes his legs weak, and he does not trust them. Scrawny legs, even though he eats like a gannet. He shuffles, carefully, places the jar back into the stream, underneath the overhang of unkempt grass. The tadpoles are there again, grazing his knuckles with their quivering tails. Wanting him to stay and play. But he stands, whispers, Not now, not now. He searches the woods for blinking eyes, listens for foot steps or hollering. He stares at the sky, expecting to see the man's shocked face pressing down through the clouds. He knows the man is everywhere. An almost God. With the swoop of an axe, he has witnessed the man choosing between life and death. Witnessed it more than once. Head of a piglet flying in one direction, pink body in the other. Tiny hooves on stick legs twitching, still trying to run away. But there is nothing. Nothing, yet. And he coils his excitement and guilt, like a greasy spring, presses it down, locks the trap door inside his mind. He stuffs his feet into his sneakers, stiff fabric heel flattened, and for a good distance, he walks backwards through the woods. Gazing at the spot where his secret is guarded. And he tells himself, as he watches the rippling water, that no one will ever know. No one will ever find it. No one will ever get hurt. Then he turns, runs towards home. Towards the farm. Towards his life with the man.

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Editorial Reviews

"Glass Boys is nothing short of a family epic. Evoking rural Newfoundland with a gritty grace that is all her own…Lundrigan intimately explores the unbreakable ties between us, weaving a tale of filthy beauty that never abandons its quest for love and rejuvenation. At once remarkably touching and disturbing, Glass Boys is an Atlantic saga, leaving behind traces of salt on the skin, and a familiar pang in the heart for anyone who has ever felt lost in the most familiar woods." -- Arts East "Lundrigan is a generous writer, able to colour with many shades of grey, and tenderly allowing character to be a work in progress...By the end of Glass Boys, a delicate study of despair and yearning, Lundrigan’s kindness and skill have led us to hope that (almost) every character -- bad, good or ambiguous -- feels safe enough to stay." -- Globe & Mail "Lundrigan fearlessly probes the depths humans can sink to, but she manages, too, to find lots of light...The author has a gift for finding the extraordinary in the ordinary -- in a neighbour's kindness, for example, or in the comforting confines of a vintage store. And the prose is gorgeously vivid. This is Lundrigan's fourth novel, and she's at the peak of her powers. Glass Boys is a gripping story, told with immense skill and unblinking honesty." -- NOW Toronto "Glass Boys is a suspenseful saga that explores themes of hardship and family relationships in an isolated village. It is rendered with haunting honesty and detail, right down to the outport Newfoundland dialect...Driven by deft plotting and vivid imagery...Lundrigan is expert at rendering minute but revealing detail about her characters and has a talent for conveying the inner world of young boys -- a world infused with real and imagined significance, where a toad or a jar or a roll of carpet can eclipse almost everything else...Lundrigan describes her characters with such thoroughness that the reader senses even the most the unforgivable could be understood with enough context." -- Winnipeg Free Press "Glass Boys is a dark story and it carries a consistently weighty tone, yet the novel is laced with enough funny and tender moments between characters to spare it from being heavy or maudlin. It’s essentially a reflection on the power of relationships -- spousal, sibling, parent-child -- in shaping a person’s life, and the effect on our core when those bonds are broken...Lundrigan’s a great Newfoundland novelist everyone in the country should know -- if not by now, then certainly after reading Glass Boys." -- National Post "With the release of Glass Boys, [Nicole Lundrigan will] finally be crowned one of the great contemporary Newfoundland novelists. " -- Salty Ink "Glass Boys, will...catapult Lundrigan into the spotlight...Her writing is so enthralling, and the story so full of suspense and interest, that there is a temptation to allow the pages to fly by when they really should be savoured...Comparisons to other Newfoundland authors are inevitable, and while Lundrigan's writing draws on themes of hardship, difficult family relationships, and abuse that will be familiar to readers of Michael Winter and Lisa Moore, her voice is strong enough to stand on its own. Perhaps, with her latest effort, she will finally earn the right to have up-and-comers compared to her." --Quill & Quire "[The Glass Boys] deftly walks the line between light and dark, hope and fear, rewarding the reader every step of the way with dazzling honesty and truth." -- Ami McKay, author of The Birth House "At its heart, Glass Boys -- a great title --I s a story as old as the oldest stories. It's the battle between good and evil, and also a tribute to the amazing power of love." --  Atlantic Books Today "Lundrigan writes about Newfoundland the way William Faulkner wrote about the American south." -- The Western Star "Lundigran's characters are fully alive -- nuanced and flawed -- drawing readers into their plight in this rich, evocative novel." -- Publishers Weekly "This is a darkly atmospheric work examining the lasting power of love, loyalty, and family secrets. Readers who enjoy Annie Proulx and Kent Haruf will find similar themes in Lundrigan's work. A pitch-perfect novel with a writing style that shifts as easily as the characters' moods, 'Glass Boys' is a triumph." -- Booklist