By W. D. Wetherell
Winner of the 2004 Michigan Literary Fiction Award for novelA haunting tale of the facility of dying, the soreness of loss, and the potential of hope."Gripping, damning, and transfixing."---Entertainment Weekly" . . . possesses a time-bending gravity. . . . [A] small vintage of swish language and earned emotion."---San Francisco Chronicle". . . a superbly written novel of warfare and the wrenching grief and unanswerable questions it leaves in its wake. . . . A Century of November is stuffed with targeted, startling imagery and chic, richly poetic description---Wetherell turns out certainly incapable of writing a lazy sentence---and this final component of the unconventional is as surreal, hypnotic and harrowing as any literature in contemporary reminiscence. the whole lot, in truth, is a jewel, an unforgettable old novel that Wetherell has rigorously (and artfully) seeded with a great deal of modern resonance." ---Star-Tribune (Minneapolis)"A poignant, probing tale. . . . Wetherell's prose and personality writing are unflinching . . . [and his] tackle a parent's ache is deeply moving."---Publishers Weekly "A well timed reminder of the devastation of mortal strive against. . . ."---Atlanta Journal-Constitution
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The feeling his muscles were my muscles. Not in a proprietary way. No. But that strengthening, thickening, finding tautness, they would someday carry what I could no longer carry myself. A sign on a barn advertising codfish oil-my first glimpse of Nova Scotia. M. It was too late, he felt too tired, to do much search ing. There was a boardinghouse near the station and this was where he spent the night, in a room with religious pictures on the walls, rubber sheets on the bed, and, wafting down the corridor, the fake moans of whores.
Once, working in the woods as a young man, he had come upon a section of forest where a meteorite had hit thirty years earlier when there were few white men on the coast. Trees were down in every direction, as jack straws in a circular ring, their bark turned a bronze color as if everything had been petrified. Much the same effect could be seen here, though the damage was in torn houses, downed telegraph poles, fallen church steeples, twisted tram lines, collapsed chimneys. Three crescent lines of destruction could be traced in from the harbor toward the North End, forming an overlapping terrace where debris from one ring spilled across the next.
Your loving son William. The words came back to him now, with the sight of the girl. He tried holding it sharp in his imagination, an image of country lanes and summer verdancy and pen sive young girls. He hoped she had been kind. For Billy's sake, he hoped that more than anything. The good weather that pushed them across the conti nent disappeared along Lake Superior. Gales set in, blowing westward over open water. Nail-hard spray hit the side of the train and made it shudder-waves crested over the locomotive the way waves break over ships.