Glorious Boy by Aimee Liu
English | 2020 | Mystery/Thriller | ePUB | 4.9 MB
Aimee Liu is the bestselling of the novels Flash House, Cloud Mountain, and Face and the memoirs Gaining: The Truth About Life After Eating Disorders and Solitaire. Her books have been translated into more than a dozen languages, published as a Literary Guild Super Release, and serialized in Good Housekeeping. She’s received a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Award, a Bosque Fiction Prize, and special mention by the Pushcart Prize. Her essays have appeared in the Los Angeles Review of Books, the Los Angeles Times, Poets & Writers, and many other periodicals and anthologies. A past president of the national literary organization PEN Center USA, she holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Bennington College and is on the faculty of Goddard College’s MFA in Creative Writing Program at Port Townsend, WA. She lives in Los Angeles.
It’s 1942. The Japanese have invaded Burma and are closing in on India. After five years in the remote Andaman Islands, aspiring anthropologist Claire Durant and her husband Shep, a civil surgeon, must evacuate with their beloved but mysteriously mute four-year-old, Ty. They cannot, however, take Naila, the local girl whose ability to communicate with Ty has made them dangerously dependent on her. The morning of the evacuation, both children disappear. With time running out, Shep forces Claire onto the ship while he stays behind to find their son. But just days after landing in Calcutta, Claire learns that the Japanese have taken the Andamans-and cut off all access to her missing family.
In the desperate odyssey that follows, Claire, Shep, and Naila will all take unimaginable risks while drawing deeply from their knowledge of these unique islands to save their beloved “glorious boy.”
rning mist in bare feet and blue pajamas.
“Hello, old boy!” He swings the child into his crooked elbow and plants a kiss on his cheek, which Ty promptly wipes off when Shep sets him down.
“Biscuit?” Claire puts on a smile and holds out one of their last McVitie’s, but Ty’s lower lip thrusts into a pout. As usual, their four-year-old’s inexplicable speechlessness dares them to read his mind.
“Toast?” She tries again.
“Big boat ride today.” Shep prefers distraction, but this morning Ty resists him too, and the familiar clutch of frustration is barbed with panic as Claire pictures the three of them sailing into the future alone.
“Where’s Naila?” she asks.
Ty brightens, turning to point as the girl reaches the top of the stairs and lurches into view. She’s dressed in haste, her green skirt backwards, pink blouse untucked, that cap of soft unruly black curls framing the fear in her eyes.
Relief floods her face at the sight of them, and Claire feels another pang. Until Shep overruled her yesterday, she’d argued in favor of keeping the girl in the dark. It would have been hard enough if they’d waited until they reached the jetty, but Shep thought Naila deserved some time to prepare herself. He was right, of course. And Naila received their plan with a grace that Claire never could have anticipated. But that grace is gone now, replaced by the lingering tremors of a child’s alarm. She must have thought they’d abandoned her already.
Ty scurries over and gives a little hop as Naila salaams to Shep and Claire. “Sorry,” she says, sounding shy and breathless. “I am sleeping when Ty Babu—”
“It’s all right,” Claire says.
Shep gestures for her to join them in the kitchen. “Ty was trying to tell us what he wants for breakfast.”
Naila leans down to look into the boy’s eyes. They confer for a couple of seconds in their silent, exclusive language.
“Toast, please,” she translates, coming up.
Ty nods and takes her hand, and Claire pushes back a tide of emotions that would do none of them any good.
Her husband’s silence, unlike her son’s, is easily interpreted: We must get on without Naila, but how?
“All right,” Claire says. “The bread’s a little stale, but it should toast all right.”