When Howard left his high school girlfriend, Sylvia, to go to Vietnam he hoped
to come home soon; what he should have wished for was to come home slowly, but
safely. Instead he came home with a severe head injury, sustained only 16
days into his tour; the injury leaves him physically and mentally scarred -
words unravel in his mouth and letters on the page make no sense to him.
What nobody understands is that inside he is still the same man he was before
enlisting - still awed by the beauties of the world, and still in love with
Sylvia. Thirty years later he lives in the house he grew up in, with
his housemates - Laurel, a Vietnamese-American caterer and two housepainters who
still think they're high school jocks.
When Sylvia enters a drug rehab clinic she entrusts her nine-year-old son,
Ryan, to Howard, and slowly the disparate...
Beyond the Book
A ha-ha, or haha (supposedly named for the reaction
people had on seeing one), is essentially a large ditch built
in place of a fence, to give the appearance that the garden and
surrounding lands are as one. It seems that they were introduced into
the UK from France in the 18th century by Lancelot
'Capability' Brown, or possibly earlier by Charles
Bridgeman. They were part of a movement in gardening away from
formal gardens to a more 'natural' style of landscaping.
As King says, 'there's an actual ha-ha (in the novel), of course, and it plays a major role in
the story, but the symbolic relevance is the presence of a huge unaddressed