The Boy Vanishes [NOOK Book]

Overview

From "New York Times" bestselling author Jennifer Haigh, "The Boy Vanishes" is a short story that is novelistic in its scope and emotional intensity. Taut and powerful, it is a keen reimagining of a whodunit in which everyone is implicated and no one is safe.


It’s the summer of 1976 on the South Shore of Massachusetts. The Bicentennial is a season-long celebration, and flags are everywhere, snapping in the seaside winds, ironed onto T-shirts, ...

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The Boy Vanishes

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Overview

From "New York Times" bestselling author Jennifer Haigh, "The Boy Vanishes" is a short story that is novelistic in its scope and emotional intensity. Taut and powerful, it is a keen reimagining of a whodunit in which everyone is implicated and no one is safe.


It’s the summer of 1976 on the South Shore of Massachusetts. The Bicentennial is a season-long celebration, and flags are everywhere, snapping in the seaside winds, ironed onto T-shirts, tattooed into biceps. Tim O’Connor works the Cigarette Game booth at Funland—toss a quarter placed on an eight-sided ball into the right slot and you win two packs of smokes or maybe, if you’re lucky, a carton. If asked his age, he’d say he’s seventeen, but in truth he’s fourteen. Yet the kids in blue-collar Grantham—a town first imagined by Haigh in her devastating bestseller "Faith"—grow up fast, are known for being wild, and more often than not drop out of school to punch the clock at the nearby Raytheon plant.


When Tim disappears after the park’s closing one night, no one makes much of it till late morning. It’s not the first time his mother, Kay, has forgotten to pick him up. It’s not the first time he has stayed out all night. By the time local cops begin their investigation, there is little trace of the boy, only witnesses to a complicated set of relationships in a place where surviving isn’t always thriving and where disappointment mixes with the salt in the air.


In this superbly crafted story, the search for a missing boy becomes a search for the American dream, laying bare how destructive its promises often are. Recalling Dennis Lehane in setting and subject and masters like Graham Greene and Richard Ford in tone and style, Haigh’s latest work is a testament to all that short fiction can be. It’s a searing portrait of how much a community loses when one of its own is lost.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Jennifer Haigh is the author of three "New York Times" bestselling novels, "Baker Towers," "The Condition," and "Faith." Her first novel, "Mrs. Kimble," won the PEN/Hemingway award for debut fiction, and "Baker Towers" won the L.L. Winship/PEN award for outstanding book by a New England author. Her stories have appeared in "The Atlantic" and "Granta," and her short story collection "News from Heaven" will be published by HarperCollins in September 2013. She lives near Boston.


PRAISE FOR "THE BOY VANISHES"


Jennifer Haigh’s "The Boy Vanishes" held me breathless and enthralled. She's conjured here a shimmering summer night filled with caustic dreams and broken lives in a place so vivid it seems more remembered than imagined. This is a terrific story, one that thrums with suspense, nostalgia and the haunting power of true mystery. —Jess Walter, author of the bestselling “Beautiful Ruins”


Jennifer Haigh's "The Boy Vanishes" is a visceral portrait of that half of Massachusetts that'll never see Nantucket or Martha's Vineyard—the half that produces the kind of kid who failed phys ed because he refused to take off his leather jacket—but even more, it's a moving testament to all the lost kids and adults that a world running on neglect and fatalism can produce. —Jim Shepard

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Editorial Reviews

Jess Walter
Jennifer Haigh’s "The Boy Vanishes" held me breathless and enthralled. She's conjured here a shimmering summer night filled with caustic dreams and broken lives in a place so vivid it seems more remembered than imagined. This is a terrific story, one that thrums with suspense, nostalgia and the haunting power of true mystery.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781614520375
  • Publisher: Byliner Inc.
  • Publication date: 7/31/2012
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Sales rank: 449,225
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author

Jennifer Haigh
Jennifer Haigh is the author of three “New York Times” bestselling novels: “Baker Towers,” “The Condition,” and “Faith.” Her first novel, “Mrs. Kimble,” won the 2004 PEN/Hemingway award for debut fiction, and “Baker Towers” won the 2006 L.L. Winship/PEN award for outstanding book by a New England author. Her short stories have appeared in “The Atlantic” and “Granta,” and her story “Paramour” is included in “Best American Short Stories 2012.” Her short-story collection "News from Heaven" will be published by HarperCollins in September 2013. She lives in the Boston area.

Biography

The daughter of a librarian and a high school English teacher, Jennifer Haigh was raised with her older brother in the coal-mining town of Barnesboro, Pennsylvania. Although she began writing as a student at Dickinson College, her undergraduate degree was in French. After college, she moved to France on a Fulbright Scholarship, returning to the U.S. in 1991.

Haigh spent most of the decade working in publishing, first for Rodale Press in Pennsylvania, then for Self magazine in New York City. It was not until her 30th birthday that she was bitten by the writing bug. She moved to Baltimore (where it was cheaper to live), supported herself as a yoga instructor, and began to publish short stories in various literary magazines. She was accepted into the prestigious Iowa Writers' Workshop and enrolled in their two-year M.F.A. program. While she was at Iowa, she completed the manuscript for her first novel, Mrs. Kimble. She also caught the attention of a literary agent scouting the grad school for new talent and was signed to a two-book contract. Haigh was astonished at how quickly everything came together.

Mrs. Kimble became a surprise bestseller when it was published in 2003. Readers and critics alike were bowled over by this accomplished portrait of a "serial marrier" and the three wives whose lives he ruins. The Washington Post raved, "It's a clever premise, backed up by three remarkably well-limned Mrs. Kimbles, each of whom comes tantalizingly alive thanks to the author's considerable gift for conjuring up a character with the tiniest of details." The novel went on to win the PEN/Hemingway Award for Outstanding First Fiction.

Skeptics who wondered if Haigh's success had been mere beginner's luck were set straight when Baker Towers appeared in 2005. A multigenerational saga set in a Pennsylvania coal-mining community in the years following WWII, the novel netted Haigh the PEN/L.L. Winship Award for outstanding book by a New England author. (Haigh lives in Massachusetts.) The New York Times called it "captivating," and Kirkus Reviews described it as "[a]lmost mythic in its ambition, somewhere between Oates and Updike country, and thoroughly satisfying." High praise indeed for a sophomore effort.

In fact, Haigh continues to produce dazzling literary fiction in both its short and long forms, much of it centered on the interwoven lives of families. When asked why she returns so often to this theme, she answers, " In fact, every story is a family story: we all come from somewhere, and it's impossible to write well-developed characters without giving a great deal of thought to their childhood environments, their early experiences, and whose genetic material they're carrying around."

Good To Know

In our interview with Haigh, she shared some fun facts about herself:

"All my life I've fantasized about being invisible. I love the idea of watching people when they don't know they're being observed. Novelists get to do that all the time!"

"When I was a child, I told my mother I wanted to grow up to be a genie, a gas station attendant, or a writer. I hope I made the right choice."

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    1. Hometown:
      Boston, Massachusetts
    1. Date of Birth:
      October 16, 1968
    2. Place of Birth:
      Barnesboro, Pennsylvania
    1. Education:
      B.A., Dickinson College, 1990; M.F.A., Iowa Writers' Workshop, 2002

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 7, 2012

    It was an OK read.

    The story was a little depressing and diappointing in the ending. I really did not understand what the authoe was going for in her story line.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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