Stephen Lewis, a successful writer of children's books, is confronted with the unthinkable: his only child, three-year-old Kate, is snatched from him in a supermarket. In one horrifying moment that replays itself over the years that follow, Stephen realizes his daughter is gone. With... read more
“... Stephen remained as always, though barely consciously, on the watch for children, for a five-year-old girl. It was more than a habit, for a habit could be broken. This was a deep disposition, the outline experience had stenciled on character. It was not principally a search, though it had once been an obsessive hunt, and for a long time too. Two years on, only vestiges of that remained; now it was a longing, a dry hunger. There was a biological clock, dispassionate in its unstoppability, which let his daughter go on growing, extended and complicated her simple vocabulary, made her stronger, her movements surer. The clock, sinewy like a heart, kept faith with an unceasing conditional: she would be drawing, she would be starting to read, she would be losing a milk tooth. She would be familiar, taken for granted. It seemed as though the proliferating instances might wear down this conditional, the frail, semiopaque screen whose fine tissues of time and chance separated her from him...”
“In the airplane an elderly lady kindly moved across to let him have the window seat so he could wave to his parents. He could see them more clearly than they could see him. They were a dozen yards from the tip of the wing, standing arm in arm just where the tarmac met the sand. They were smiling, and waving hard, then resting their arms, then waving again. The propellers on his side of the plane started up. He saw his mother turn and dab at her eyes. His father put his hands in his pockets and took them out again. Stephen was old enough to know that a period of his life, a time of unambiguous affinities, was over. He pressed his face against the window and began to cry. His Brylcreem was all over the glass. When he tried to wipe it clear his parents mistook the movement of his hand and waved again.”
“It was the weak who failed to maintain the line between the world as it was and the world as they wanted it to be.”
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