Cover

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Title page, Copyright, Dedication

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Contents

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Acknowledgments

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p. ix

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Crackers

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pp. 1-17

The happiest moment of my father’s life was finding his name on President Richard M. Nixon’s enemies list. Of course, there were reams of such lists, organized by category and subcategory of enemy, with qualifications broad...

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All of Us and Everything

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pp. 18-28

Claire and Martin eat in this restaurant maybe four times a year, and if they drink at all, they’ll share a single glass. Tonight, though, they order the priciest wine on the list, a Cabernet Sauvignon at $995 a bottle. They...

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Excommunicados

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pp. 29-45

In January of 1967, when I was in Sister Agnes Catherine’s sixth grade class, a seventh-grader named Richard Kreinbrink fell through the ice on Lake Sharon and drowned. Once word of this got around, everybody and...

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The Cherrywood Heart

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pp. 46-64

The black-and-white photograph accompanying Quetsch’s obituary might just as likely have been taken years before or after I worked for him. I never knew him as anything but old and can’t imagine him otherwise...

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Scars

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pp. 65-77

They met at a bris. It had been a sort of blind date and now here they were, Peg and Ben, nine months later, at the opening of his first exhibition. Pacing the hardwood floor in his soft blue suit, Ben looked more like a lawyer...

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The Angel of the City

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pp. 78-96

The flight from Boston lasted six whole hours, with a three-hour stopover in London and a two-hour flight to Milan, and all the while Lionel Detweiler could not sleep. His insomnia was fueled by visions of kidnappings...

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Tribes

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pp. 97-116

My father was between jobs. He was often between jobs, this being both his nature and the nature of his trade, but it had been months since he last worked, and he was never happy to be home. For as long as I could remember...

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Black Box

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pp. 117-135

Ford Arbeiter and I were assembling a model airplane, the de Havilland Mosquito, when he said I should know something about his origins. The word origins spoke to me of comic book beginnings—baby Superman rocketing...

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Whan That Aprill

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pp. 136-153

Noah has promised to help bury the Olcotts first thing in the morning. As he waits in the kitchen for Arthur, he watches Alice at the sink. She pours a brown paper bag of strawberries into a copper colander. One by one, she picks...

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Two Virgins

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pp. 154-166

Geraghty was halfway to Susan Crookshank’s when she phoned to ask if he could come an hour later than planned. Her parents, who’d been scheduled to return to Long Island that afternoon, wouldn’t be flying out...

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A Toast in Cancun

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pp. 167-186

Everyone in his new life warned Ferris not to go to Cancun. They said Cancun was to drinking what Las Vegas was to gambling. “They even drink in the swimming pools,” his sponsor Leonard told him. “No shit. They belly up...

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Trappings

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pp. 187-204

New Year’s Eve, near dark, and Lionel Detweiler crosses into Maryland nursing fantasies of rescue and cure. Pablo, his wife Jane’s stepfather and the object of these fantasies, is eighty-six, unconscious, and breathes through...