The Natural Order of Things (Vintage Contemporaries)
Kevin P. Keating
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
From a startling new voice in American fiction comes a dark, powerful novel about a tragic city and its inhabitants over the course of one Halloween weekend.
Set in a decaying Midwestern urban landscape, with its goings-on and entire atmosphere dominated and charged by one Jesuit prep school and its students, parents, faculty, and alumni, THE NATURAL ORDER OF THINGS is a window into the human condition. From the opening chapter and its story of the doomed quarterback, Frank McSweeney, aka The Minotaur, for whom prayers prove not enough, to the end, wherein the school's former headmaster is betrayed by his peers in the worst way possible, we see people and their oddness and ambitions laid out bare before us.
some kind of arrangement. No deposit required to rent a room.” For most of these men this news comes as a great relief, since the only thing they have with which to barter is the worthless currency of a hundred broken promises. Of course a few of them, the more reasonable ones, find her motives suspect, but in the end desperation always wins out. They don’t even wait for her to scribble an address on a napkin; they simply follow her back to the building, a never-ending parade of derelicts and
of money are at stake, paranoia becomes an almost palpable thing, a shivering sentinel standing guard outside the door, waiting night and day for signs of a possible invasion. As if to confirm this point, Gonzago begins to bark under the bedroom window. Elsie gasps. “Do you hear that? He’s laughing at us.” Despite Claude’s protestations, Elsie sits up in bed and pulls the sheet over the warm treasure trove between her legs that Claude has lovingly christened Graymalkin. A positively criminal
excited, clever and naïve, intelligent and dull, creative and destructive, reasonable and unhinged. “Oh, it has been such a long time,” she whispers, stroking his chest and flat pale stomach. She straddles him with the ferocity of a famished she-wolf about to eviscerate its prey, and if she has any thoughts of the merchant marine, whose ship even now may be sailing through a perilous strait that divides hostile lands, she gives no sign. They spend many nights ensconced in the warm cocoon of
into a back pew near the heavy wooden doors. A dungeon door, thinks Devin, and as he mentally prepares himself for an excruciatingly boring ceremony, he looks around and is surprised to see so many of his rambunctious pupils sitting in silence, their hands resting on their knees. If only they would behave this way in the classroom. Eager to record their unusual behavior, Devin reaches for the pencil and scratch pad he keeps handy in his coat pocket (no self-respecting scientist would leave home
clothes too flashy, his hair too shiny, sculpted, and unnaturally dark? Maybe he should cut down on the dye, let a few gray strands grow in. He looks artificial, more mannequin than man. He uses his fading looks to disguise something ugly, but these men are not easily fooled by disguises. They sniff him out right away. He reeks of corruption, perversion, disease. The bartender leans over and squeezes de Vere’s shoulder. His forearms are thick and hairy, his knuckles raw. His tongue moistens a