Stern: A Novel

Stern: A Novel

Stern: A Novel

Stern: A Novel

Excerpt

One day in early summer it seemed, miraculously, that Stern would not have to sell his house and move away. Some small blossoms had appeared on one of the black and mottled trees of what Stern called his Cancer Garden, and there was talk of a child in the neighborhood for his son, a lonely boy who sat each day in the center of Stern's lawn and sucked on blankets. Stern had found a swift new shortcut across the estate which cut his walking time down ten minutes to and from the train, and the giant gray dogs which whistled nightly across a fence and took his wrists in their mouths had grown bored and preferred to hang back and howl coldly at him from a distance. A saintlike man in brown bowler had come to Stern with a plan for a new furnace whose efficient ducts would eliminate the giant froglike oil burner that squatted in Stern's basement, grunting away his dollars and his hopes. On an impulse, Stern had flung deep-blue drapes upon the windows of his cold, carpetless bedroom, frustrating the squadron of voyeurs he imagined clung silently . . .

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