Tongues of Angels

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"I'm as peaceful a man as you're likely to meet in America now, but this is about a death I may have caused. Not slowly over time by abuse or meanness but on a certain day and by ignorance, by plain lack of notice. Though it happened thirty-four years ago, and though I can't say it's haunted my mind that many nights lately, I suspect I can draw it out for you now, clear as this noon. I may need to try."
Set in a summer camp in the Blue Ridge Mountains during the deceptively tranquil 1950s, The Tongues of Angels is a story of the twenty-one-year-old painting teacher, a superbly gifted boy, and their advance toward a startling fate. As the now-older man looks back at on that summer, he reflects on the meanings he thought he had learned on the threshold of manhood from the perspective of full maturity.
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  • Scribner | 
  • 208 pages | 
  • ISBN 9780743202213 | 
  • October 2000
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Chapter 1

I'm as peaceful a man as you're likely to meet in America now, but this is about a death I may have caused. Not slowly over time by abuse or meanness but on a certain day and by ignorance, by plain lack of notice. Though it happened thirty-four years ago, and though I can't say it's haunted my mind that many nights lately, I suspect I can draw it out for you now, clear as this noon. I may need to try.

I was twenty-one, an official man. I could almost surely have held him back; he deserved to stay. It wouldn't have taken a hero to do it, just a person with more common sense than I had at the time and, as I said, more... see more

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