Excerpt from The Secret Wisdom of the Earth by Christopher Scotton, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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The Secret Wisdom of the Earth

by Christopher Scotton

The Secret Wisdom of the Earth by Christopher Scotton X
The Secret Wisdom of the Earth by Christopher Scotton
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  • First Published:
    Jan 2015, 480 pages
    Jan 2016, 496 pages


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Book Reviewed by:
Kim Kovacs
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Print Excerpt

"Nope, I'll just take this one to go." He grabbed the center bun and poured coffee into a travel mug. "Call you when I get home, sport," he said as the screen door creaked and slammed on his exit.

With him gone I immediately began exploring Medgar and the surrounding mountains in expanding circles from my base on the front porch of 22 Chisold Street—a seething, spinning fury in my head and a pack of matches in my pocket.

On the first saddle of mountain outside of town, I gathered up a knee-high pile of tinder-dry leaves and threw a lit match into it. A pencil of smoke rose from the middle, then dissipated as the flames took. A moderate wind fed the fire and I watched impassively as the flames shot up three feet, consumed the fuel, then settled into smoldering embers. I wanted to feel something other than the stifling sadness and rage that had overcome me these past two months—guilt, excitement, brio, embarrassment, anything—but even the heat of the flame failed to penetrate.

I had started with fires in Redhill about a month after Josh died: first a small trash can in the backyard, then a pile of dried grass clippings in the woods behind my house; a stack of deadfall at a construction site, then three tires at the town dump; a few other minor lights around Redhill, until I set an old wooden shed ablaze on city park property. That one brought out fire engines, police cars, crime scene investigators, but nothing from me.

Farther up the mountain I pulled together another pile of leaves, larger this time, and finally felt the heat of the flames as they licked at the low branches of a maple sapling. Then two more fires, each bigger than before.

And so it was my first week in Medgar—a Dumpster fire in back of Hivey's Farm Supply; a grass fire on a clear hillside that got taken by the wind and nearly lost control; an old foam car seat that burned ugly black smoke and stung my lungs when the wind shifted.

It was on one of these burnings that I first met Buzzy Fink.

Excerpt from The Secret Wisdom of the Earth by Christopher Scotton. Copyright (c) 2015 by Christopher Scotton. Used with permission by Grand Central Publishing. All rights reserved.

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