A debut novel of extraordinary emotional power: When a mute war veteran opens his home to a young boy, he gets a glimpse of life outside his shell--with all its exuberant joys and crushing sorrows
For 30 years, since a Vietnam war injury, Howard Kapostash has communicated only with sounds and gestures--a condition that makes him appear slow and disturbed. But in his head, Howie is the same man he was before the war, longing for Sylvia, his high school sweetheart and mourning his parents and his chance at a family. Howie's solitude comes to abrupt end with a desperate phone call in the middle of the night; Sylvia is being forced into rehab and needs him to care for nine-year-old Ryan until she returns. Though Ryan's first days with Howie are strained by misunderstanding, his presence gradually transforms Howie and his entire household, which includes Laurel, a soup chef and a pair of housepainters Howie grumpily thinks of as Nit and Nat. By midsummer, their once cold home is alive with the happiness, disappointment and love of a real family. But with Sylvia's return imminent, Howie is obliged to wonder if the change is only temporary--and to reconsider, in the process, just what the war cost him. Triumphant and heartbreaking this is a singular and engaging story, heralding the arrival of a tremendous new voice in fiction.