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The Other World Hardcover – 2013
From the author of the modern classic novel THE HEADMASTER'S PAPERS comes this masterpiece collection of short fiction, a cycle of stories told by the main character, Jonathan Force. Contemporary boys and the men they become are in an altogether new kind of peril; they are no longer merely adrift as Holden Caulfield once was in mid-twentieth century Manhattan; they are broken and finished, like the authors of our era’s schoolyard shootings. The stories that unfold in THE OTHER WORLD address the inner life of boys in a way that offers a bigger, better vision, charting the formative experiences of a spirited boy who, by an admixture of grace, luck, and indomitable spirit, does not bow finally before the cultural imperatives to forfeit his deep nature—although he comes very close. Attentive readers are likely to find these stories touching, at times funny, and ultimately inspiring. Blake Bailey, author of CHEEVER: A LIFE, writes:" Richard Hawley explores, with eloquence and sensitivity, the secret lives of children and the unexpected moments that linger in memory and give shape to our souls. A stunning collection." Ann Hood, author of THE OBITUARY WRITER, calls THE OTHER WORLD "both a tender and harsh coming-of-age story." As John Irving writes of the author, "Richard Hawley has the poise and vision to create an entire world."
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This skillfully written collection of thirteen stories follows the life and evolving consciousness of Jonathon Force from childhood to adolescence. The ‘other world’ refers to the place Jonathon discovers as he passes through phases of boyhood by way of family, bullies, friendship, school, sports and love. In short: the world we all discover as we grow up. Hawley’s unique and profound sensibilities ups the ante considerably from the perspective of a cynical Holden Caulfield. This young man’s inner life and external world is gently presented, luminously described and eloquently etched against a cultural tablet of twentieth century America. One cannot help but care about Jonathon as his narration touches so very many universal experiences. One critic wrote, “Hawley crystallizes those brief, occasional glimpses of eternity, allowing us to hold them and look at them and even feel them again.” Highly recommended with a mention that THE OTHER WORLD is actually part one of a large work titled: THE THREE LIVES OF JONATHON FORCE
Childhood is a well-mapped territory, but no one illuminates what it feels like to be a child better than Hawley. In these stories his character, Jonathan, emerges into consciousness at Christmastime with his family and finds a wonder, “the other world,” that he seeks to find again as he grows into boyhood, makes friends, enters school, goes to camp, tests his prowess, confronts bullies, falls in love, endures humiliations and triumphs, and navigates the conflicts of adolescent and the pressure of looming adulthood. Every reader can identify in one way or another with the episodes in these stories, but what makes each story so moving is Hawley’s ability to retrieve the feelings, the yearnings, the uncertainties, and the profound desire for the ineffable that most of us have forgotten.
An absorbing and book.