Titel: Singing Boy: A Novel
Verlag: Picador, New York
Zustand: Very Good
Über diesen Titel
On the way home from dinner, Malcolm Vaughn is shot and killed in front of his family - the victim of a random act of violence. Undone by shock and grief, his wife Sarah retreats from the world, postponing her return to work and their son Harry's return to school. Harry appears to have come through the loss unscathed, until a troubling incident reveals his profound pain and confusion. It will take time—and the support of Malcolm's best friend, Deckard, a Vietnam vet with troubles of his own—to help them understand the intracies of their sorrow.
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 Jenkins
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