Mercy Among the Children: A Novel

Mercy Among the Children: A Novel

David Adams Richards

Language: English

Pages: 384

ISBN: 161145719X

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

At the age of twelve, Sidney Henderson, in a moment of anger, pushes his friend Connie Devlin off the roof of a local church. Looking down on Connie’s motionless body, Sidney believes he is dead. Let Connie live and I will never harm another soul, Sidney vows. At that moment, Connie stands up and, laughing, walks away. In the years that follow, the brilliant, self-educated, ever-gentle Sidney keeps his promise, even in the face of the hatred and persecution of his insular, rural community, which sees his pacifism as an opportunity to exploit and abuse him. Sidney’s son Lyle, however, witnessing his family’s suffering with growing resentment and anger, comes to reject both God and his father and assumes an increasingly aggressive stance in defense of his family.

When a small boy is killed in a tragic accident and Sidney is blamed, Lyle takes matters into his own, violent hands in an effort to protect the only people he loves: his beautiful and fragile mother, Elly; his gifted sister, Autumn; and his innocent, beatific brother, Percy. In the end, no one but Lyle can determine the legacy his family’s tragedy will hold. Written with abiding compassion and profound wisdom, and imbued with a luminous grace that is as haunting as it is precisely controlled, Mercy Among the Children is epic storytelling at its absolute finest, populated with richly drawn characters who walk off the pages and into history. With a never-failing elegance and humane moral vision that call to mind Joseph Conrad and Thomas Hardy, David Adams Richards has crafted a magnificent, heartbreaking novel whose towering ambition is matched only by the level of its achievement.

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from Tabusintac to Newcastle on six occasions, had knitted her husband a new sweater for Christmas that very year. Her favourite birthday was her twenty-seventh. Her favourite girlfriend was Diedre Whyne. Her favourite person besides my father was Jay Beard. Her favourite television program, the one she watched with Percy, was Lassie, her favourite colour was blue, the colour of Percy’s eyes. Of the three books she had read her favourite was The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. I want people to

were furnishings in the three rooms up here, dressers and old rugs and wall hangings and kids’ games like Monopoly and Clue. There were pictures too, pitiless in their lost meaning. A picture of Arron Brook at twilight before the mill was built — when the water was crystal clear. An older picture of nuns at the Lazaretto in Tracadie in their underbibs taking care of three old women, obviously lepers, circa 1924. And another picture of five woodsmen stripped almost naked washing their stockings.

“I can’t see anything,” Cynthia said as she ran back to get them. (She had been running about for three quarters of an hour.) “Why in fuck does Canada have storms anyway?” It was now almost two o’clock. They sat in the doll room, and Gladys tried to get her father to move. “I’m not going anywhere,” Leo said. Cynthia’s mind was still on the thousands upon thousands in the bag sitting on the kitchen table. She felt she would have to make her escape by dressing like a man, and to that effect she

called Frederick. He had watched Newcastle grow — the paper mills got larger, the bars spread with the town, video games, cable, and satellite dishes brought the world to our door — the great empire to our south. We drove American cars, played American music, dressed in American clothes, danced American dances under the glitter globes, and yet there was a glass partition that kept us on the far side of the American experience. The Pits he considered outsiders because they had in some ways failed

Sydney Henderson got drunk and confessed! Sydney Henderson had made a fool of the courts. Constable Morris, who had tried his damnedest to get the child molester off the street, heard about this as well. Mathew was seen driving his car up and down the road crying and carrying a rifle. He stopped on a level stretch and opened the door and was seen with his head in his hands. The sky was lenten and foreboding. There was a smell of raw ice in flurries of bitter snow. Finally some people stopped to

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