Cover

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pp. 1-1

Frontmatter

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pp. iii-vii

Contents

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pp. ix-ix

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I: Scene: The Town

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pp. 1-45

Things were in a slump. That much everybody knew, since the fortunes of the town were tied to the price of copper. As they'd once been to silver, and before that to gold. The golden dawn, the silver day, now the copper evening, dimming, it seemed, into night. Boom or bust, hanging on by a gasp—hail or ...

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II: Director

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pp. 46-58

Energy: it seemed to make the air crackle around the man, charge the atmosphere of the room, the inner source unceasing and resistless—leg swinging, fingers drumming as the words came tumbling out. He could not sit still; his standing seemed a prelude for flight. He was on the run through ideas, people, ...

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III: Actress

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pp. 59-89

Couldn't fool her. Shopping center and gas stations and motels to the contrary—sprawl of business. Banks are taking over the world—money fortresses. Car wash, what not. A place to make you eat your heart out, devour you to the dust. She knew towns, grew up ...

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IV: Flashbacks

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pp. 90-115

Where, how did people get lost? Missing children, gone without a trace: where did they disappear, leaving only their loss—a portrait in the newspaper, a poster in a public building, the offer of a reward? Or those last seen crossing the street in the most casual ...

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V: The Film

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pp. 116-134

Entertainment: where all the world's a stage, and all the players merely men and women. But not to the public; it loves, envies, emulates them so. Larger than life it casts them. Like the images on the screen. And away from studio and screen, the high ...

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VI: Performances

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pp. 135-165

The fire had struck the heart of the town, leaving a blackened core: the theater and the old Greek's candy store alongside, the high-school hangout, and buildings on both sides. Destroying a furniture store and a men's shop, then depriving the Benevolent and ...

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VII: Certain Passions

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pp. 166-197

Risk. In enterprises of great pitch and moment there were casualties. And that, said Bird Peacock, is the law of taking off on your own. And the question always nagging at you, for which you could never get an answer to satisfy you was what made folks take ...

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VIII: The Voice Box

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pp. 198-210

They came. Curry Gatlin and Virgil Langtry and Emmett Early, the jeweler, and Lucien Hake, the undertaker. They were all there with their wives. Except Lester Pruitt, who was late or else had decided against it. Bill Brodkey watched them come indoors ...

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IX: Mise-en-Scène

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pp. 211-251

He was at a loss. You can't create something out of nothing. But down there in the void of generation, what was the nature of possibility? The dance of illusion, the quirkiness of aberration, chaos? Chaos is in the world, he thought, lying behind every moment. Crack the ...