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When Roy Trench is killed in a drunken prank gone wrong, his brother Lewis sees blood on the hands of the man responsible: the abusive alcoholic, Eli Fagan. Though the courts rule the death an accident, the event opens a seam of hate between the two families of Knife's Point, Newfoundland.
Desperate to smother the painful past with love, Lewis marries Wilda, and the pleasure he takes in their two children -- Melvin and Toby -- recalls the happier days of his childhood with Roy. But as he watches his small family fracture, the darkness of the past begins to cloud the present, leading Lewis back to Eli Fagan -- and his watchful stepson, Garrett Glass.
In the style of Newfoundland literature, established by Michael Crummey and Lisa Moore, Glass Boys is the haunting story of an unforgivable crime that brings two families to the brink.
Gotcha! ” Melvin cried when he settled down. “Gotcha good. ” “YOU GOT ME,” Eli whispered into the darkness. “Got me good. ” He was lying in bed, staring at his wife who was breathing softly beside him. He could smell her breath, sour and empty, and he knew she hadn’t eaten. He reached out and touched the scarf still covering her head, expected her to flinch even in her sleep. She hadn’t wanted much. A few weeks with her sister. But when he came home and found the strange car in the driveway, discovered his wife had purchased the rusty heap with her own few dollars, and intended to drive there, take the ferry, something snapped inside Eli.
Struggle with his own body until those two knots, one between his ears, one between his legs, were untied. Smoothed. As he let go, he’d arch his back, strain his face towards heaven, wanting to cry out, “I am this. I am not that. Do you see me, you bastard? ” A few moments were all it took to remind himself. All the proof he needed. Night after night, Eli dreamt of trapping the boy in that room. Bricking up the narrow window that looked over the field. Bricking up the doorway. The boy inside, and still alive.
As long as he’s got his nose in the gutter, he’s going to talk garbage. There idn’t a single thing wrong with him that he hasn’t brought on himself. And there idn’t a single thing we can do to fix him. ” “You sure? ” “I seen enough to know. ” Toby sighed, allowed the faintest breeze of relief to touch him. “Don’t tell Mellie I was on about him, alright? ” “Don’t you worry none. You go on, now. Find your friend, what’s-his-name, and tell him to get his face out of that book. ” “Ween? ” “See if he wants a job.
Sure there was loads of food, left and right of you. ” “I didn’t want nothing. Didn’t want to have a lunch with that crowd. ” “What crowd? ” “All the people. ” “There’s lots of good people, there. I knowed most of them all my life. ” “And I don’t know most of them at all. ” “That’s ’cause you never gave no one a chance. ” “I haven’t, have I? ” “Not really. You’re the one coming into their world, Willie. You just needs to find some inroads. ” “I don’t want inroads. ” Her voice was flat, quiet. “You don’t got to be like that, Wilda.
I think thing for you to do. ” “Oh, thank-you,” she squealed. “Thank-you, thank-you. ” Well, then. Gainfully employed. “I can do it. Bring drinks. Sell cigarettes. Whatever you wants, Mister. What ever you wants. ” He snickered. “You have nice face, but what I want first is put coat in garbage. Where belong. C’est dégueulasse. ” She went through another door, rolled the coat and stuffed it back in the kit bag. Then, she found a toilet and sink, washed her face, scraped the corner of a towel across her teeth, pinched her cheeks.