Excerpt from Journal of a UFO Investigator by David Halperin, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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Journal of a UFO Investigator

A Novel

By David Halperin

Journal of a UFO Investigator
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  • Hardcover: Feb 2011,
    304 pages.

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She shuffles over to me in her bedroom slippers. She always wears her bedroom slippers.

“Danny. Do you know what time it is?”


I glance at the last words I’ve written—images or feelings perhaps, stimulated within my brain—and move my hand to cover the paper. A mistake; I’ve called her attention to it. I look at my watch. “About eleven thirty,” I say.

“Almost a quarter to twelve.”

“Eleven thirty-seven,” I correct her.

“It’s a school night. You know that.”

“I know.”

She persists: “Christmas vacation is over.”

Oh, yes, don’t I know it? January once more. Wake with the alarm before it’s light, ride the school bus through the bitter gray morning. Try to do the reading I didn’t do last night. Then stagger from class to class, boredom to boredom, my eyes foggy with all the sleep I haven’t gotten. Eleventh grade now. I turned sixteen last month.

She stands beside me, resting her weight on the back of my chair, touching my shoulder with her fingers. I lean forward. It makes me nervous when my mother touches me. I smell the sour sickness of her body. I don’t turn around, but I can see her in my mind: spindly limbs, gaunt, peaky face. Her thick cat eyeglasses, the lenses like teardrops. I wear glasses too.

“What are you writing?”

“Oh . . . something for English class.”

“English was my best subject,” she says.

When she was in high school, I guess. English is my best subject also. When I write, the teachers tell me I sound almost like a grown-up.

“A story?” she says, leaning over me, trying to read what I’ve written.

“Sort of. We’re supposed to write . . . a kind of journal.” I’m making this up as I go along. “Of somebody who we are. Who we might be.”

“A story,” she says, as if that made it so. As if she still knew me from inside out, top to bottom, the way she did when I was little.

But this isn’t a story. And it has nothing to do with any English assignment. Writing a story, I know the twists and turns in advance. I know how it’s going to come out. This . . . journal, I guess, comes from a place I don’t yet know, and it unfolds itself inside me, bit by bit, so I can’t see beyond the next folding.

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Reprinted by arrangement with Viking, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc., from Journal of a UFO Investigator by David Halperin. Copyright © 2011 by David Halperin

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