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The Hour I First Believed

by Wally Lamb - £12.99  HarperCollins Publishers (2009)
paperback    ISBN 13: 9780007290802 | ISBN 10: 0007290802

From the author of the international number one bestseller I Know This Much Is True comes a magnificent novel of a life turned upside-down by tragedy - and the search for a way to carry on in the aftermath.

Caelum Quirk is a middle-aged schoolteacher. Students at Columbine High School generally respect him and turn to his wife Maureen, the school nurse, when in trouble. When he has to return to his home town for the funeral of his beloved aunt, Maureen promises to join him the next day - but she goes to work that morning, and thatís when the shootings happen. She hides in a cupboard, unable to see whatís happening, but listening to the students being taunted, then killed. Life can never be the same again.

In the face of Maureenís trauma, Caelum searches for meaning, delving into his own family history and discovering that nothing was as heís always been told. As the couple inch towards recovery and suffer setbacks, the stories of Caelumís redoubtable ancestors illuminate how he came to be the man he is, and how he and Maureen might live in the future with freedom and dignity. With no easy answers, Caelum gradually comes to an understanding of who he really is and what he can believe in.

(Price & availability last checked: September 2018)

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