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Angels Crestby Leslie Schwartz
Synopses & Reviews
Ethan woke slowly. The metal scent of a storm in the air. His heart quickened at the marvel of his life. Me, he thought, and the word came and went like a flash of light.
He got out of bed and put on his jeans. On a pallet on the floor, Nate lay sleeping. Ethan stood for a moment and gazed at him. Since the day his son was born, Ethan had always thought of Nate as his North Star. Now, he bent down and pushed the hair back from Nate's forehead.
"C'mon buddy, time to go."
Nate stirred. Ethan didn't bother to change him out of his footie pajamas, he simply put a parka over him and picked him up. He knew, if need be, there was a pair of shoes in the truck.
"Balloon, daddy," Nate said, still half asleep.
Ethan bent down and picked up the now-deflated balloon from Nate's third birthday party the day before. Nate grabbed it and held onto it while Ethan shimmied into his coat, balancing Nate first in one arm, then the other. He was getting so big, almost too heavy to hold anymore.
Dawn was at least an hour away. It was cold but Ethan could feel the subtle warmth of the coming snowstorm. He knew by the fragrant scent in the air that the storm was close. It was early for snow--just the first of December--but Ethan could feel how it threatened, how monstrous it would be. He imagined the way the clouds had journeyed almost 400 miles from the coast along the jet stream, packing more and more power on their way here, to this place, on this day of his life.
He bundled his son into the car seat and started the truck, turning the heat on. As he pulled out of the driveway and drove down the dirt road to the main highway, Nate said, "Brother Powell says I need to go to church."
He said "brother" like "bruver." And the r was missing from "church." It killed Ethan, the way Nate talked, the things he came up with. Once he called a daddy longlegs a long-legged daddy and Ethan had to pick him up and hold him and kiss him after that.
Still, no matter how charmed, Ethan had to make an effort now to keep the asshole out of his voice. He never liked Brother Powell but he tried to make his tone smooth, without too much sentiment.
"We're going to church now, buddy."
"We're going to the woods, dad."
"Well a church doesn't have to have four walls and a door to be a church."
Ethan heard the edge in his voice. He wanted to go on but Nate had already lost interest and by the time they had driven a mile out of town toward the mountains, he had fallen back to sleep. Ethan drove up the winding, narrow roads, higher and higher. Darkness was giving way to a weak gloomy light. He thought of Nate at the Christian pre-school. He had no choice but to send him there. He would not lose the full custody he'd just won because he didn't like the church school mandated by the settlement. He didn't like church schools and things that were organized, like religion and politics. But Ethan chose his battles well. The woods could knock the Jesus out of anyone, if you went there enough. So that's what Ethan would do. Indoctrinate his son with the divinity of the forest.
Ethan wished the storm had waited another day. Or that hunting season really opened this morning. He knew, from years of hunting, that deer stuffed th
When his beloved son is kidnapped from their California mountain community, Ethan Denton undertakes a devastating search, which is affected by a challenging blizzard, his ex-wife's painful past, a Jewish judge, a lesbian couple, and a blind minister. Reprint. 17,500 first printing.
It only takes a moment for a life to change forever.
Ethan Denton is a lucky man. Lately things have gone his way–like being granted custody of Nate, his three-year-old son. But when he takes the child up to Angels Crest early one morning to show him the mountains, Ethan’s luck changes instantaneously. In an impulsive decision any parent might make, he leaves his son asleep in the back seat while he follows a pair of magnificent buck, just for a minute–but when he returns the truck’s door is open, the child is gone, and snow is falling . . .
As townspeople gather to aid in the search, the boy’s disappearance resurrects old wounds and regrets for each of them. But it also provides the chance for love and redemption, as they struggle to make sense of the inexplicable.
About the Author
Leslie Schwartz is the author of Jumping the Green, which won the James Jones Literary Society Award for Best First Novel. Her short stories have appeared in dozens of literary journals, and her nonfiction has been published in the Los Angeles Times, Shape, Self, and other magazines and newspapers. She teaches fiction writing at UCLA Extension and poetry to at-risk high school students through PEN in the Classroom. She is also a mentor for young writers through PEN’s Emerging Voices fellowship program and writes a monthly column for the nonprofit Council of Literary Magazines and Presses based in New York City. She lives in Los Angeles.
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