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A Tender Age

In her post introducing June’s Book Club selection, “House of Prayer No. 2,” by Mark Richard, Macy cites a passage that includes this sentence:

Sometimes in the orange and grey dust when the world is empty, the child lies in the cold backyard grass and watches the thousand starlings swarm Dr. Jim’s chimneys, and the child feels like he is dying in an empty world.

I remembered this instantly for the line that came after it, the kicker that made me close the book on my thumbs and gather myself:

The child is five years old.

The age checks that occur throughout “House of Prayer No. 2,” especially in the earliest sections, are necessary; the child, as Richard calls himself before switching to the most effective use of the second-person since “Bright Lights, Big City,” is extraordinary, and though he’s labeled defective because of his deformed hips, we know better. Read more at newyorker.com…