SUBJECTED: Eye of God - a novel (the Prequel)

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And in casting a wider net, Simpson offers not only glimpses of one particular and specific struggle for familial identity, but also the universality that this search has come to signify for a generation often raised in fractured, divorced, nomadic and otherwise unsettled conditions. Whether ordinary or eccentric, her characters have something at stake.

Neither overly tender nor patently ironic about their lives, they inhabit those lives with stubborn intent, without apology, which makes them all the more genuine and exasperating. And he is not loved unconditionally; his immense good fortune ignites resentment in those who benefit most from it. The Driving Child Jane was not a sensitive child, she was not. She was mainly this—eating with her fingers, slowly, after thirty hours of dizzy hunger, without regular days or school.

This was the way she knew happiness, her foot on the bench, the other heel kicking metal, the bite of wet gold-brown meat against the cold. A highway-wind slipped in her sleeves and touched her ribs, shivering her. They both wore old soft clothes. But she pulled her knee closer, softening a scab with her tongue. A train horn started too far away to see. And a lotta lotta money. He might even be governor someday. Later, you would. She unclasped her purse and gave Jane final money for two swirled ice cream sundaes with nuts.

Teaching Jane to drive took a long time. She stopped going to school. As the fall progressed, they absorbed themselves in the nesting of the truck. Mary fitted pillows to the seat, sewing telephone books in between padding and basting on a slipcover, so Jane sat fifteen inches above the cracked vinyl. Never once did Mary call Mack, although his long letters arrived every day, small forlorn script in blue ink on yellow lined paper.

Mary taught a little every day and tested Jane. Where is the choke? Okay, do it. Lights, brights, wipers, emergency brake. They fixed the broken back window with tape and a piece of cardboard. Mary sealed the seams with clear nail polish. Then the real lessons started. They went on an old road, columns of trees on both sides, straight as far as they could see. They practiced starting, the gradual relay of clutch and gas. Jane found the brake again and again until it was easy.

When the car sputtered and died on the late-afternoon road, no one knew. Clouds bagged huge and magnificent. Mary made her do it all again with her eyes closed, which was like swimming in rain.

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Girls who lived in town with their grandparents came to school with braids like this, to keep the hair off the face. Only the young mothers seemed to understand that girls need a little flair, like the girls far away on television. On Thanksgiving, Jane sat on the end of the mattress while her mother brushed her hair straight up from her head, pulling it tight, then braided it into a basket around her ears. She dressed Jane warmly, with two pair of socks in her new shoes. Then everything was done. She sat on the bed, hands clutching under the mattress.

Her mother knelt on the floor. Then she took a breath and lined her words along one edge, her attempt to be firm. And one, two, three, four, five ones. Because it was hard to save that. And here. Years ago, Owens had given her the ring, hidden inside a cherry pie. They watched the sky change, waiting. With the hat and the height of the telephone books, no one would see Jane was a child.

Mary fixed a glass of coffee the slow way and fed it to Jane with a spoon, as she had when Jane was a much younger child. From the first taste, Jane knew her mother had used the last sugar. You can remember that I went as long as I could for you. Whoever pays. She pressed closer to her mother, listened to her heart like the far sound inside a shell and felt the pull of an empty immensity, the attraction of wind, the deep anonymous happiness of sleep. In no time at all, she was down the road, wobbling until she caught her balance, past her mother, the cabin contracting in the small rounded mirror.

Go now. Her mother had taught her patiently and well, at dusk while others ate their supper. Jane saw her own leg, long for a ten-year-old, reaching the wooden block pedal, and she thought of her mother and the man who was her father marveling over her pats and understood, for the first time, this is why. She rounded a curve and felt herself flying already—sitting so high in the truck she could feel the velocity and whistling air—but her hands without her steered the wheels back into chronological time and she drove down a long simple road.

She was traveling west, with an old sense of which way west was. The envelope labeled Owens poked into her side. Jane understood she was driving at night so shadows would conceal her childhood. Her mother had put her to bed six afternoons, waking her late and leading her on stumbling sidewalks outside, to prepare her dreams for daylight and accustom her eyes to the dark. There was no heat or radio in the truck, there never had been, and the sounds that entered through cracks were sounds of the world repairing itself in its sleep.

Animals moved in the distance, water seeped somewhere invisible, and there was the etching work of wind on branches, ticking. Jane listened to the sounds people almost never hear and forgot about driving and then snapped erect at attention when she caught herself swinging hammocklike into the lurching swoon of sleep. She opened the window and drove rigid, eating the air.

No one passed but, twice, mile-long semis, and then it was just clutching the wheel hard, through an arc like an amusement park ride, the noise so whole it carried you in it. But it did and she was still there, her teeth chattering loose, the truck wobbling on the plain dark road. She had the clock, she could put it by her ear or inside her shirt on her chest.

She decided to pull over and eat just one Fig Newton. That would help. Water from the round canteen tasted metal, sticking to the back of her teeth. She finally let herself sleep, holding the clock against her chest, then woke with a start and it was only a quarter hour. On her knee she had a scab. She picked it off and ate it, liking the tough opening taste of blood.

Her mother had warned her not to let the gas go down to empty. She had painted a red line on the glass gauge with fingernail polish. But now the needle was hovering below and there was no filling station. When Jane felt frightened, she pulled on the wheel and made herself sit up straight. She mad numerous promises to God on that night.

Later, the road widened and she stopped at a ten-bank gas station, got her money out and put on her hat. She was trembling and her knee jumped when the man came over to help her. He was an old man and small. When he put the hose back in its slot she drove away. That was done. At one point, Jane began singing all the songs she knew, the night everywhere around dimensionless and still beginning, and she came to understand that she knew very few songs, and of those she remembered only one verse and a scattered mess of words with spaces between. Most were from camp meetings and she despised them.

She did numbers then—picturing them, the line, the carry-the-one—and for a while she named the things she knew.

The Predicate

Rhymes and numbers and state capitals and presidents could keep you out loud at a time like this. All Jane knew was what she hated. But she had been doing other things while her classmates chanted their gradual multiplication tables. In the tree hollow she had placed seven acorns, unfitting their hats and sprinkled each one with salt: that was for Mack to come back with her mother.

Each commandment came complete, sometimes in school, and she had to obey. These were her small duties that guaranteed nothing. Only, if she did not do them, it could be worse. She drove that night in a straight line, through storm, the crack of lightning, trees of white, sheets of water dividing, spray on both sides, and it came to her that she had passed into the other world, where her mother was dead.

Jane felt sure her mother was going to die, because that was the only reason she could imagine they had to be apart: her mother so pretty and, everyone always said, so young. She felt always alert to the possibility that they were making fun of her. Jane had never had a death yet. And Jane had the picture now of her mother dead. She could be dead the same way she had been a thousand times on the bed, sleeping, the way her face went, lying down, everything draped from her nose.

In the beginning, more things were alive: plants felt, something commanded, creatures lived in the sky. The morning after her trip to her father, she woke up in a hole of dirt, her mouth full of stones, her hands smelling for a long time of gasoline. She is a young woman whose nature is as unsettled as the possible combinations of her name would suggest. She is now in medical school, and her everyday life is normal enough. But even so, her lifelong obsession returns with a vengeance, disturbing her hard-won stability.

This is the story of her search-both emotional and literal-for the father who disappeared. In search of the man without whom she cannot find herself, she hires one detective, then another. And thus she begins a journey through her past, family and friends, becoming her own true detective in a quest that reaches across America to foreign lands, and eventually leads her into our collective yearning for belief, longing and love.

The Lost Father confirms the truth of the constant struggle to find faith and to locate and preserve a protector in a world with too many absences. Bring back those adjectives: The Lost Father is brilliant, astonishing and wholly original. Then he was a mundane, well-educated sort of drifter-dreamer, an immigrant from Egypt; she has no idea of his new profession, though she entertains the persistent hope that it is mysterious and exotic international gambler?

Ann now calls herself Mayan, the name her father gave her, and her new level of obsession is extreme: at times the reader feels that next to her, Ahab is a man with a notion, Humbert Humbert a guy with an odd craving. The portrait of Mayan that emerges is marvelous in its acuity and richness. Simpson evokes precisely the gritty and visceral intensity of that need. Mona Simpson demonstrates, throughout this novel, a spectacular talent for rendering tumultuous emotional states with eloquence and economy.

In a beautiful scene that contains elements of the virgin birth, a retrieval of innocence and the grace that love affords, Ann experiences a homeland and the Egyptian people. She encounters a young Egyptian man, and begins her healing. In the end, you understand, that is always the question you came here to ask…And at the same time…you understand too…that is the one question no one can ever answer you.

Mayan desperately feels the need to find her father, if only to prove to him that she made a life for herself, despite his absence. She finds her safe place within herself. So that is what family is, one thinks — not just a birthright or a face in a photograph, but the slow, constant gathering of history as well as love. The Lost Father is somewhat similar: a bulky volume, over pages, but put together in an extraordinarily intricate way, tense, complicated, yet surprisingly airy. The end of this fine novel is as much a clash of cultures as an Oedipal reckoning. All our lives we believed, all our separate lives.

My grandmother never did.

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She had never been a Christian until her husband died. Then she capitulated, gracefully, ending the one battle that had lasted them all his life. It was then that she began to buy hats. There were two of us who were his. My mother and me. My grandmother respected our feelings although she never liked my father. She could be unfair and we would obey here, because she cared for our comforts. She was good to us.

We trusted her. My mother is fifty-six years old and in a way she still believes. She would say she does not but she has saved herself for him, saved herself beyond saving, to a spoiled bitter that expects only the worst. But in her private soul she is a child holding an empty glass jar waiting for the sky to fill it, for him to return and restore us to our lives. To me, my childhood; to her, the marriage she once had and threw away and will now cherish forever as some unreachable crystal heaven. It is he, she believes, who stole her glitter and throne, her money, her wings, which after all are only petals of the years.

My grandmother was always on the other side. She used herself and whatever she had for her life.

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Her husband was dead and to her, so was my father. There was no Head of Household. But at the age of fifty, she learned to pay taxes and to drive. She spent. We, even in our extravagance, were always saving. Now, I can tell in children, who has that hole that is belief and which children will be children of this world. You can see it in a class of first-graders. You can recognize in a group of eleven-year-olds, the children who lose their rings and their gloves, their keys, the same children who themselves get lost in department stores, on the way to the library or to school.

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They are the children who are waiting, in their hectic way, for something. You can read from the small things that collect and disappear around them, the quality not of their order or disorder, but of their aspect to it. Any stranger could have seen it in me. It depended on how quick you had an answer. I was too quick on the top but really I was infinitely slow.

Our patience was tragic. We were people who could spend our lives loving one person who never cared for us. I grew up without a father, but those years while it was happening, I never understood that it would always be that way. We expected him to come back. Any day. There was nothing else I could do.

My mother was a young woman then; she was waiting, also, for her life. From place to place we moved an embroidered sampler. She always hung it in the kitchen, usually near the sink. Sometimes she looked at it and sighed. Once she did marry someone else. But he never seemed to either of us like a father. Absence has qualities, properties all its own, but no voice.

The colors of his absence were the blue and white of a Wisconsin sky, a black like telephone poles and lines falsely on the distance, or a tossed spray of crows. The yellow of a moth, the gray of sheer mountain rock in Colorado, even the dusk smell of a summer field.

He was the forced empty clean of those cheap mints from taverns, green in the middle of white.

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That taste meant empty, like the tiled tavern my mother and I went in once during the daytime to use the phone and buy gum. He would never know. Days went by and years. It was just now—the elapsing of our time and lives. Nothing much. We would have left it for an afternoon with him.

There were two times. Wisconsin time and his. Everything in the Midwest was patient and had to do with seasons. Everything seemed too easy for us there. Nothing was hard. In school, for me, everything was beside the point. I never found the faith I wanted and all along I had it. It was like the time my class was taken to hear a symphony orchestra. The children around me were playing hang-the-man, passing paper and pencil back and forth.

They offered me a place in their game but I refused. I was following the program intently. It said two things and then Hansel and Gretel. I imagined sets and capes and pink ballerinas. Choral opera vaulting into the sky. Then the concert ended and there was an encore and people stood and left their programs on their seats. I never saw the pageant I expected. Faith was that way. Thinner, abstract. Only music. We wanted too much from this world. We believed in an altogether different life than the one we had, my mother and I.

We wanted brightness. We believed in heaven. We thought a man would show us there. First it was my father. We believed he would come back and make me a daughter again, make my mother a wife. My grandmother did not like him, but I prayed for her anyway. My mother never lost her faith in men, but after years, it became more general.

She believed a man would come and be my father, some man. Any man with certain assets would do. In this we disagreed, but quietly. I was becoming a fanatic. We moved to California. I thought maybe if he saw my face on TV. That is the way I was with men. I was ashamed of my wishes as if there were inherent wrong in them that showed and if I told anyone they would see it was my own fault I would never be happy.

I wanted too much. Foolish things. But I wanted them anyway. I could only keep them to myself. It is pathetic now to remember. They were ordinary girls toys, full of netting and spotlights, sugar and ballet. I wanted wands, wings, glittery slippers from my father. I wanted to dance while someone watched me.

What you got you think is so special, huh? That was the answer to everything in childhood. But God would always be there like stones in the road, there was all the time in the world for God, we could go back and pick God up, after we were young. But when a person bad-off slanted across the street, when my mother helped someone old, she would remember.

You could see it in her eyes. For years my mother and I waited together. We had been together my whole life. Other people had come into our family, but only she and I stayed. The hardest thing I ever did was leave my mother. The spring before I first went away, to college, we drove out to get ice cream cones at night.

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I told her she might still get married. Our time for that had passed. My mother had tried substituting once before, in Wisconsin, with Ted Stevenson the ice-skating pro, but she thought it would be different here in California, the man would be rich, someone who could give us life. Just wait and see. Just wait. My mother had always talked to me about marriage. It was her great subject because it was what she never really had. She felt she had missed the boat, so she advised me, starting when I was very young, too young to do anything about her suggestions.

College, she said, college was the promising time and place. From the way she talked it was a large green summer camp where everyone wore beautiful clothes. Hundreds of good young men just walked around waiting to be picked. She was angry at me. I still had it ahead of me—college—she was way past that. Find him there. But it was worse than just my father.

We were a carnival freak show, us. They seemed as bad, only with money. And not mine. July alone sees the publication of several hundred speculative fiction titles vying for your reading time. It can thus be a daunting task for readers to find their way to the best of them. That's where I come in. Every month, I sift through the vast number of speculative titles and pick out the ones that deserve your attention. Here is the roundup for July. But be warned! I found so many worthwhile science fiction and fantasy books that you could literally read a brand new one every day of the month.

If you lean towards science fiction set in space, know that several space-based stories are available for you to devour. It depicts an alternate history in which a s meteor strike accelerates the need to develop the space program. Elma York is working in the background to put a man on the moon but sees no reason why she cannot be the first lady astronaut. That's the ultimate travel destination for the story's main character.

Amelia feels trapped by life in Mexico City, pulling in money as a rent-a-friend and by selling her blood to old folks hoping to rejuvenate themselves. Yet even her daily drudgery cannot block her from the alluring pull of the Red Planet. Meanwhile, in Emily Skrutskie's intriguing Hullmetal Girls , the path to a better life or at least the money to buy one may be volunteering to become a mechanically-enhanced soldier called a Scela. That's what Aisha Un-Haad decides to do to raise the money she needs for her brother's medical treatment. In the Fleet is where Aisha meets Key Tanaka, a Scela with only fuzzy memories of her former, well-to-do, pre-Scela life.

Both women from disparate backgrounds must work together if they are to challenge the pending rebellion. Then there's Annex by Rich Larson, in which powerful invaders have taken away the adults. That leaves the young survivors to fend from themselves and they're ready to fight back. Here's another: Planetside by Michael Mammay, about a war hero named Colonel Carl Butler who is called out of semi-retirement, sent to a space station orbiting a battle-ravaged planet in the far reaches of space, and tasked with finding the missing son of a prominent councilor.

His investigation leads to dead ends, intrigue, alien encounters and a trip down to the hostile planet. Also set in space, but reading at times like fantasy, is Empire of Silence by Christopher Ruocchio. Here, Hadrian Marlowe flees his father and a future as a torturer only to tread down a path that will lead him to becoming the man who saved a planet by killing billions. In near future Washington, D. Janet Watson, recently and honorably discharged from the Civil War, teams up with covert agent Sara Holmes to find a murderer targeting veterans.

Meanwhile, in the dark future of Jay Schiffman's Game of the Gods , military commander Max Cone has had enough of war and politics and wants to leave it all behind. The muse is a myth. Butt in the chair, hands on keyboard. Some friends of mine like to add, typing away madly. If this is your passion, put in the work.

That is something you must do yourself. And no two authors would do the book the same way. If I send you my book can you help me get it published? Again, no. With a schedule well into , I just am not able to. As a general policy, I do not provide quotes for books. My musical taste is all over the place. Depends on the book really, or sometimes the scene. ALL the authors! ALL the books. A lot of the funny or embarrassing things have actually happened to me. But otherwise any resemblance to someone real or fictional is purely coincidental. Are your books available in other countries or languages?

Oh no! If it is a Kindle book, there is one reason for this.

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SUBJECTED: Eye of God  - a novel (the Prequel) SUBJECTED: Eye of God - a novel (the Prequel)
SUBJECTED: Eye of God  - a novel (the Prequel) SUBJECTED: Eye of God - a novel (the Prequel)
SUBJECTED: Eye of God  - a novel (the Prequel) SUBJECTED: Eye of God - a novel (the Prequel)
SUBJECTED: Eye of God  - a novel (the Prequel) SUBJECTED: Eye of God - a novel (the Prequel)
SUBJECTED: Eye of God  - a novel (the Prequel) SUBJECTED: Eye of God - a novel (the Prequel)

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