Home Land: A Novel
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What if somebody finally wrote to his high school alumni bulletin and told...the truth! Here is an update from hell, and the most brilliant work to date, by the novelist whom Jeffrey Eugenides calls "original, devious, and very funny" and of whose first novel Chuck Palahniuk wrote, "I laughed out loud---and I never laugh out loud."
The Eastern Valley High School Alumni newsletter, Catamount Notes, is bursting with tales of success: former students include a bankable politician and a famous baseball star, not to mention a major-label recording artist. Then there is the appalling, yet utterly lovable, Lewis Miner, class of '89---a.k.a Teabag---who did not pan out. This is his confession in all its bitter, lovelorn glory.
the occasion you fainted at the water fountain in corridor C? I certainly won’t forget it, how you took that dainty sip, so careful not to let your lips touch spout, the way your bulging knapsack swung back as you straightened and seemed to fling you like a stuffed doll, which you somehow resembled in your penny loafers and sailor’s shirt. But physics did not fly you tileward, Stacy. Biology did the job. I’d seen the tremors in your hands, the glittering devastation in your eyes. (Were you
what can you admire more in a person than the will to danger? Sure, her rants could be ridiculous, stridency smothering wit, and yes, she took it too far with me, who wasn’t her enemy, just her son who happened to have a cock, but even so, she’d saved herself, or at least altered the terms of her internment. It couldn’t last forever, of course, and after Marty was done finger-banging his waitstaff, came home to rest, he noticed that the Hazel who lived in his house was not much like the Hazel
state senator, a government chemist, a gold-glove ballplayer, not to mention, according to the latest issue of Catamount Notes, a major label recording artist in our midst. Yes, fellow alums, we’re boasting bright lights aplenty these days, serious comers, future leaders in their fields. Hell, we’ve even got a fellow who double-majored in philosophy and aquatic life management in college and still found time for a national squash title. Think about it, Catamounts. We didn’t have squash at
while, that laugh like flash lightning she had. I could see them both lit up in it, figures frozen in an old love pose, the way they’d maybe been, before the head scarves and the bad investments, the groped hostesses, the agitprop, baby Lewis, too. A random millisecond of illumination to remind you of the daily dark. “Fine, forget it,” I said, went back to the basement, maybe to evacuate Saigon. Which is really just to explain to you, my fellow alums, why I never got bar mitzvahed, which I’m
never found that hidden pass to New Fontana. I could tell you about the time he pulled me into his office for a private audience. It was late in my junior year. I’d been idling near the juice machine with Gary, watching him brandish his thumb nub to make a point. Gary had a lot of theories in those days. He was a fan of ancient astronauts, especially their work in the entertainment industry. Today’s lecture hinged on Thurman Munson, the great Yankee catcher of our youth. Munson, according to