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Alligators May Be Present

A Novel

Andrew Furman

Publication Year: 2005

While many Jews have picked Florida as the perfect place to retire, Matt Glassman has chosen it as the place to begin his adulthood. Perhaps that's because the pressures of life have always reminded him about his grandfather who mysteriously disappeared from the family twenty years ago. Now, while he tries to begin a family of his own, he also builds a relationship with the one person who might know the truth about his grandfather?s disappearance: his grandmother. She's remained stubbornly reticent on the topic all these years, but when a familiar old man shows up at Glassman's office he thinks he may finally get some answers.

Published by: University of Wisconsin Press

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Acknowledgments

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pp. 10-13

My deepest thanks to: Elisabeth Weed, who first glimpsed the potential of this novel; my agent, Mitchell Waters, for his continuing support and wisdom; Dave Keplinger, for his insightful reading of an early draft; Dirck Aumiller, for the beautiful cover art...

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Does Everything Have to Mean Something?

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pp. 3-5

Matthew Glassman never anticipated that impregnating his wife would take so much . . . well . . . work. During the first eight years or so of their relationship, while they were seeking to avoid conception at all costs, Rebecca treated his semen as if it were the most potent of concoctions...

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Here I Am

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pp. 6-15

Glassman was fairly certain that he had the potential to screw up a child’s life through inept parenting, through good intentions gone awry. But to doom a child to a life of suffering by the sheer act of creating that life. It was too horrific a possibility to contemplate...

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Hello, I’m Irving Shuman

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pp. 16-33

Another crappy day in Florida,” Glassman proclaimed sarcastically to Rebecca as he lurched out of bed, slid open the sliding glass door, and stepped out onto the cool chattahoochee stone floor of their patio. The morning sun, filtered though it was through the screen encasing the patio...

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While You Were Out

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pp. 34-53

Glassman’s encounter with Shuman had rocked him. He was in no condition to remain in the office. So when lunchtime arrived, he quietly slipped away and drove home. Haberdashery . . . Haberdashery . . . Haberdashery. . . . Shuman’s mention of the shmatteh business startedGlassman thinking of his ...

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Alligators May Be Present

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pp. 54-73

Matthew Glassman for Teenie Fishbein in Banyan North, 104 D. I’m on the permanent guest list,” Glassman advised the security guard, somewhat impatiently. The guard looked eighty years old himself. Was he really up to protecting...

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A Change in Altitude

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pp. 74-99

A week passed, then two, and Glassman still hadn’t heard so much as a word from Irving Shuman. He should have been relieved that he had somehow shaken off the nuisance. But relief was not what Glassman felt. Rather, he felt frustrated and ever so slightly lonely with each passing day...

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Meet the Wood Stork

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pp. 100-120

Glassman, upon Shuman’s instruction, arose from bed at the crack of dawn Sunday and headed to Loxahatchee, the last surviving remnant of the northern Everglades. Just who was this Irving Shuman character? Rebecca asked him the night before as they lay in bed...

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Someday You’ll Talk about Me Like This

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pp. 121-151

For the next week, Glassman remained in bed slightly longer than usual once he awoke in the morning. It wasn’t that he was depressed. Rather, his morning at the fringe of the Everglades with Shuman had convinced him to seek something of a greater wakefulness before rising from the sheets and joining Rebecca in the kitchen. He lay in bed and listened....

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Think of How Lucky We Are

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pp. 152-162

The serenity Glassman first glimpsed at the Everglades somehow gave way to a nebulous melancholy. So the Sunday after the brunch with his relatives, he spirited himself away to Loxahatchee, hoping, expecting even, that Shuman would be there waiting for him...

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We’ve Come All This Way

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pp. 163-180

If the collision at Patch Corral Park had been the blow that jostled Glassman’s wiring, blurring his mental screen with snow, Rebecca’s announcement was the flat-handed smack that cleared the snow away. There was too much to think about, too much to do, for Glassman to be despondent...

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Are You Talking to Everybody, or Just to a Few People?

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pp. 181-194

The next morning after Glassman returned rain-soaked from the Everglades, he called his Uncle Ben from his office and set a date to deliver a short talk to one of Beth Sholom’s havurah groups. He called his Uncle Ben because of what Shuman had told him the day before; he called because he felt it was partly his responsibility, as Weekly Books Editor for the local Jewish paper, to share his limited expertise with the community...

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I Heard the Heartbeat

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pp. 195-199

Was Glassman to blame? Was it all his fault? So obsessed was he with his own poor performance at the Feins that he didn’t give more than a passing thought to Rebecca’s upset stomach. Such a load of damaged goods was he that he effectively kept his wife from thinking of herself for even one precious moment...

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The Defender of Weak and Victimized Pooches

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pp. 200-225

Severe episodes of depression, Glassman had read, could be triggered by specific events; or one could occur out of the blue without any precipitating event at all. The chemical imbalances in the brain could wreak their own, unassisted havoc...

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Stop Calling Me Shuman, Son

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pp. 226-230

Where had Shuman gone? Didn’t he know that Glassman needed him? Why did he come out from under his rock at all if he only planned to disappear again, and then again, for weeks at a time? If he had no real intention of helping Glassman, or himself ?...

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Did You Think I Wouldn’t Know You . . .

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pp. 231-238

Glassman arrived ten minutes late to his office the next morning to find the old man waiting for him. It was as if Shuman somehow heard Glassman cry for him at Pumperdore’s. The young editor experienced a flash of déjà vu. Wasn’t this, after all, how he had first glimpsed his grandfather just a matter of weeks ago? How Abe Fishbein had reappeared?...

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This Your Mother Knows Nothing Of

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pp. 239-254

BRRIIIINNG! “Don’t answer it, Matt,” Rebecca advised him over her orange juice. “It’s just somebody trying to sell us something. They’ll hang up when the machine answers.” Glassman envied Rebecca’s attitude toward the phone. It’s a luxury, she would opine...

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A Vision of Feathers

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pp. 255-263

I’m calling with some bad news,” Teenie ominously greeted her grandson over the phone line. . . . It had been three months since Teenie’s stroke, and they had been a good three months—for Glassman and for his grandmother...


E-ISBN-13: 9780299207830
Print-ISBN-13: 9780299207809

Publication Year: 2005

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