Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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Contents

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1. Many Seconds into the Future

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pp. 3-26

Almost every day now, Daniel Hirsch looks up from his desk in the Boston office where he practices law, or stands—on clear fall days—on the back deck of his house in Newton, a cup of coffee in his hand, and sends his spirit two hundred years into the future...

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2. Getting out in one Piece

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pp. 27-46

Ben Kagan wishes he could speak to the dead. He wants to tell his Aunt Jean a few things. To thank her, simply that, for what she did for him as a child over sixty years ago.
He sees her now in mind’s eye more sharply than he can see his mother...

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3. The Name Changer

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pp. 47-58

Mel Breuer, lying in his hospital bed, listens down into himself, waiting for his aorta to burst. Not that he’s impatient. It’s like waiting for a train that’s certain to arrive some time or other, and you’d prefer other; you wouldn’t be upset if the tracks were out, the other...

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4. Dreams of Freedom

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pp. 59-76

In dreams he flows over fields and over hills, leaping rock to rock—like running cross-country on a small planet, an island in space with weak gravity. His muscles have little to do but spring the free body high. He drops in slow motion to touch the ground...

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5. A Man in Thrall

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pp. 77-96

My God, the meshugas. Self torture, self-torture, and then, futile, self-ridicule over the self-torture. Steve sees in mind’s eye the tiny studio in the East 60s he borrowed from Jason Millet to spend one night with Deborah. It was a Friday. Deborah was taking the train...

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6. Reading to Jacob

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pp. 97-110

Every night he reads to his beloved dead brother. Reads poetry, reads stories, and, accompanying himself clumsily on guitar, sings Jacob’s own songs to him. The odd thing about this is that Michael is a nonbeliever. Or no: he’s a believer all right—but in...

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7. Straps and Boxes

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pp. 111-126

He’s speaking to the Holy One, as he does every day—every day, same time, sunrise, same station—kind of a one-way radio; not so hot on the satisfaction scale, still half-asleep he is, wearing tefillin, straps on his arm ending in a box on the bicep, and above his forehead...

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8. The Good Father

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pp. 127-144

His hand has its slight tremor as he holds the razor under his chin. He’s as careful with it as if it were a straight razor. Well, he has nicked himself a few times. Croft washes off the soap with scalding water and investigates his reddened face in the enlarging mirror...

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9. All the Children are Isaac

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pp. 145-156

It’s the same every morning, only more and more terrible. While David Levy does his exercises, he listens to the latest griefs over the radio. Drought has cut to less than half the livestock of some village in northern Kenya; desperate herdsmen are forced to...

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10. The Camera Eye

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pp. 157-181

It’s July 1939; in a little over a month Hitler is to invade Poland. Half awake, Eddie Rubin shambles toward the kitchen in his old bathrobe that’s getting too small for him. His mother’s still asleep. Eddie smells the eggs his father is already frying up for him, crackly...

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About the Author

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p. 182

Clayton, born and raised in New York City, taught modern literature and fiction writing as professor and then professor emeritus at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and as Visiting Professor at Mt. Holyoke College and Hampshire College. He lives...