When spring arrived his dad rode daily into Stonington, where the lobster boat was moored. He awakened at four, revving the Ford pickup until it rumbled like a B-17 on takeoff, its muffler shot from the salt air. After age twelve Falk accompanied him on summer mornings, although he remembered little of those harsh working days on the water apart from the chill of the wind in early June and the bitter cold of the sea, and the way his hands and feet never quite recovered until late September. Or maybe he didn't want to remember more, because by that time his father was drinking and his mother was gone.
Within a year they lost the house and moved to the woods, onto a stony lot of goldenrod and thistle where home was a sagging green trailer, the walls lined with flattened cereal boxes for insulation. In storms it heaved and moaned like a ship at sea. There were no more community sleeps. Everyone scattered to separate corners, and his brother and sister escaped as soon as they were old enough.
Falk sought refuge where he could find itin the woods, on a cove, or at libraries, the tiny clapboard ones you came across in every community on the island. He took a particular liking to the one in the island's namesake town of Deer Isle, not only because it was closest but because it was the realm of steely-eyed Miss Clarkson. She demanded silenceexactly what Falk neededand brooked neither nonsense nor intrusion, especially not from drunken males who came raging up the steps in search of wayward sons. In recalling her now, Falk realized she was the kind of woman he would always be attracted toone who could glean the most from minimal conversation, as if she had an extra language skill. It was a little bit like being a good interrogator.
Excerpted from The Prisoner of Guantanamo by Dan Fesperman Copyright © 2006 by Dan Fesperman. Excerpted by permission of Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Blood at the Root
"A gripping, timely, and important examination of American racism."
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