In this Book

summary
When Marcia Aldrich's friend took his own life at the age of forty-six, they had known each other many years. As part of his preparations for death, he gave her many of his possessions, concealing his purposes in doing so, and when he committed his long-contemplated act, he was alone in a bare apartment.

In Companion to an Untold Story, Aldrich struggles with her own failure to act on her suspicions about her friend's intentions. She pieces together the rough outline of his plan to die and the details of its execution. Yet she acknowledges that she cannot provide a complete narrative of why he killed himself. The story remains private to her friend, and out of that difficulty is born another story— the aftershocks of his suicide and the author's responses to what it set in motion.

This book, modeled on the type of reference book called a “companion,” attempts to find a form adequate to the way these two stories criss-cross, tangle, knot, and break. Organized alphabetically, the entries introduce, document, and reflect upon how suicide is so resistant to acceptance that it swallows up other aspects of a person's life. Aldrich finds an indirect approach to her friend's death, assembling letters, objects, and memories to archive an ungrievable loss and create a memorial to a life that does not easily make a claim on public attention. Intimate and austere, clear eyed and tender, this innovative work creates a new form in which to experience grief, remembrance, and reconciliation.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
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  1. Title Page, Copyright
  1. Age at death
  2. p. 1
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  1. Aldrich, Marcia
  2. pp. 2-3
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  1. Alpha
  2. p. 4
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  1. Ambition
  2. p. 5
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  1. Answering machine
  2. pp. 6-8
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  1. Apartment
  2. pp. 9-10
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  1. Arborvitae
  2. pp. 11-12
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  1. Augury
  2. p. 13
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  1. August 21, 1995
  2. pp. 14-15
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  1. Auto
  2. p. 16
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  1. Awake
  2. p. 17
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  1. Banal suicide
  2. p. 18
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  1. Barbara
  2. pp. 19-20
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  1. Bartleby
  2. p. 21
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  1. Bathroom (1)
  2. pp. 22-23
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  1. Bathroom (2)
  2. p. 24
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  1. Bed
  2. p. 25
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  1. Bed of metamorphosis
  2. pp. 26-27
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  1. Beginning
  2. pp. 28-29
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  1. Berkeley
  2. p. 30
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  1. Better world
  2. p. 31
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  1. Beyond Insight
  2. pp. 32-33
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  1. Binoculars
  2. p. 34
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  1. Birthday
  2. pp. 35-36
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  1. Breathless
  2. p. 37
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  1. Buji
  2. pp. 38-39
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  1. Bullet
  2. p. 40
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  1. Buteo regalis
  2. pp. 41-43
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  1. Cassanego
  2. p. 44
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  1. Cause of death
  2. p. 45
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  1. Certificate of death
  2. pp. 46-47
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  1. Chain, chain, chain
  2. pp. 48-49
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  1. Circle
  2. p. 50
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  1. Clare and David
  2. p. 51
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  1. Clementine
  2. p. 52
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  1. Collector’s “I”
  2. pp. 53-54
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  1. Colma
  2. p. 55
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  1. Contact person
  2. p. 56
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  1. Cryptic
  2. p. 57
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  1. Data
  2. p. 58
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  1. Death of a Salesman
  2. pp. 59-60
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  1. Death wish
  2. p. 61
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  1. Deference
  2. p. 62
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  1. Diabetes
  2. pp. 63-68
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  1. Disposition of the body
  2. pp. 69-70
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  1. Disposition of the weapon
  2. p. 71
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  1. Distance learning
  2. p. 72
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  1. Domestic past
  2. p. 73
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  1. Dream
  2. p. 74
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  1. Eagle
  2. pp. 75-76
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  1. Egg coddler
  2. pp. 77-79
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  1. Endings
  2. p. 80
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  1. English 1B
  2. p. 81
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  1. Epictetus
  2. p. 82
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  1. Esse est percipi
  2. p. 83
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  1. Eulogy
  2. p. 84
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  1. Failure
  2. p. 85
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  1. Fast car
  2. pp. 86-90
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  1. Figurines (1)
  2. pp. 91-92
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  1. Figurines (2)
  2. p. 93
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  1. Finality
  2. p. 94
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  1. Fleck
  2. p. 95
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  1. Gale
  2. p. 96
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  1. Garage sale
  2. pp. 97-98
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  1. Gas
  2. p. 99
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  1. Gender gap
  2. p. 100
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  1. Gifts
  2. pp. 101-103
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  1. The Glory Hole
  2. p. 104
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  1. Golden Gate
  2. p. 105
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  1. Gun
  2. pp. 106-107
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  1. Halloween
  2. p. 108
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  1. Harbor
  2. pp. 109-111
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  1. Heart
  2. p. 112
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  1. Heron, doe, and fawns
  2. pp. 113-114
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  1. Higher education
  2. pp. 115-116
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  1. Hole
  2. p. 117
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  1. Home teaching (1)
  2. p. 118
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  1. Home teaching (2)
  2. p. 119
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  1. Impasse
  2. p. 120
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  1. Informed consumer
  2. p. 121
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  1. Inheritance
  2. pp. 122-123
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  1. In remembrance
  2. p. 124
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  1. Intimates
  2. p. 125
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  1. Invisible ink
  2. p. 126
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  1. Kidney failure
  2. pp. 127-128
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  1. The knocking at the gate in Macbeth
  2. pp. 129-130
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  1. Lady Macbeth
  2. pp. 131-133
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  1. Larry
  2. pp. 134-135
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  1. Last visit
  2. p. 136
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  1. Last words to me
  2. pp. 137-138
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  1. Last words to Richard
  2. p. 139
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  1. Literary criticism
  2. p. 140
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  1. Macbeth
  2. pp. 141-142
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  1. Manhattan (list of lists of reasons that life is worth living)
  2. pp. 143-144
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  1. Marital status
  2. p. 145
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  1. Men on women: cinema verité
  2. pp. 146-150
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  1. Mentor
  2. p. 151
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  1. Method
  2. p. 152
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  1. Money
  2. p. 153
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  1. More forest
  2. p. 154
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  1. Mother’s Day
  2. p. 155
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  1. Mouse
  2. p. 156
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  1. Neuropathy, diabetic
  2. p. 157
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  1. Note
  2. p. 158
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  1. Now he tells us
  2. p. 159
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  1. Oban
  2. pp. 160-162
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  1. Onset
  2. p. 163
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  1. Other women who passed through that I know of
  2. p. 164
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  1. Path (1)
  2. p. 165
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  1. Path (2)
  2. pp. 166-167
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  1. Path (3)
  2. p. 168
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  1. Path (4)
  2. pp. 169-170
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  1. Pentobarbital
  2. p. 171
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  1. Philosopher
  2. p. 172
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  1. Piano four hands
  2. p. 173
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  1. Plan
  2. p. 174
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  1. Police
  2. p. 175
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  1. Police report
  2. p. 176
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  1. Prell, Martin
  2. pp. 177-179
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  1. Prell, Michael
  2. p. 180
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  1. Prell, Ruth Sosin
  2. p. 181
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  1. Project
  2. pp. 182-183
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  1. Questions
  2. p. 184
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  1. Reassembly
  2. pp. 185-186
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  1. Reception
  2. pp. 187-188
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  1. Red-tailed hawk
  2. pp. 189-190
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  1. Richard
  2. p. 191
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  1. Rigor mortis
  2. p. 192
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  1. River house
  2. p. 193
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  1. Role
  2. p. 194
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  1. Roses
  2. p. 195
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  1. Salesman
  2. p. 196
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  1. "Secretary of Death”
  2. pp. 197-199
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  1. Self-accusation
  2. p. 200
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  1. Self-annihilation
  2. p. 201
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  1. Self-pity
  2. p. 202
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  1. Sisyphus
  2. p. 203
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  1. 1635 San Andres Street
  2. p. 204
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  1. Spanish main
  2. pp. 205-206
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  1. Spectacular suicide
  2. p. 207
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  1. Spin the bottle
  2. pp. 208-209
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  1. Spoon altar
  2. pp. 210-211
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  1. Spoons, commemorative
  2. pp. 212-213
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  1. Stamp collection
  2. pp. 214-216
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  1. Steinway Model K
  2. pp. 217-218
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  1. Story
  2. p. 219
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  1. Substitute
  2. p. 220
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  1. Substitute teacher
  2. pp. 221-222
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  1. Suicide
  2. p. 223
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  1. “Suicide”
  2. p. 224
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  1. Suicide Intent Scale
  2. pp. 225-227
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  1. Suicide note
  2. pp. 228-229
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  1. Synecdoche
  2. p. 230
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  1. A tale told by his rabbi, full of sound and fury, etc
  2. p. 231
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  1. Telescope
  2. p. 232
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  1. Test
  2. p. 233
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  1. Thanksgiving
  2. p. 234
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  1. Timeline
  2. pp. 235-236
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  1. Time travel
  2. p. 237
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  1. Toast
  2. pp. 238-239
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  1. Tools not elsewhere inventoried and not forgotten
  2. p. 240
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  1. Truth
  2. p. 241
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  1. Unclaimed Baggage Center
  2. p. 242
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  1. The underlying, unifying principle of a life
  2. pp. 243-246
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  1. Vise
  2. p. 247
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  1. Voice of authority
  2. p. 248
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  1. Why
  2. p. 249
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  1. World’s Fair
  2. pp. 250-253
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  1. X-ray
  2. p. 254
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  1. Years, under the influence of the additive property
  2. pp. 255-256
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  1. Yes, this is my time
  2. pp. 257-258
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  1. Young manhood
  2. p. 259
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  1. Z, omega, taw
  2. pp. 260-261
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  1. “Zen Suicide”
  2. p. 262
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  1. AUTHOR’S NOTE
  2. p. 263
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  1. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
  2. p. 265
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Additional Information

ISBN
9780820344706
Related ISBN
9780820343372
MARC Record
OCLC
812066408
Pages
280
Launched on MUSE
2012-10-19
Language
English
Open Access
No
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