The Swallows by Lisa Lutz
English | 2019 | Mystery/Thriller | ePUB | 3.8 Mb
The Swallows : A teacher at a New England prep school ignites a gender war—with deadly consequences—in this dark and provocative novel by the bestselling author of The Passenger
When Alexandra Witt joins the faculty at Stonebridge Academy, she’s hoping to put a painful past behind her. Then one of her creative writing assignments generates some disturbing responses from students. Before long, Alex is immersed in an investigation of the students atop the school’s social hierarchy—and their connection to something called the Darkroom. She soon inspires the girls who’ve started to question the school’s “boys will be boys” attitude and incites a resistance. But just as the movement is gaining momentum, Alex attracts the attention of an unknown enemy who knows a little too much about her—and what brought her to Stonebridge in the first place.
Meanwhile, Gemma, a defiant senior, has been plotting her attack for years, waiting for the right moment. Shy loner Norman hates his role in the Darkroom, but can’t find the courage to fight back until he makes an unlikely alliance. And then there’s Finn Ford, an English teacher with a shady reputation who keeps one eye on his literary ambitions and one on Ms. Witt. As the school’s secrets begin to trickle out, a boys-versus-girls skirmish turns into an all-out war, with deeply personal—and potentially fatal—consequences for everyone involved.
Lisa Lutz’s blistering, timely tale of revenge and disruption shows us what can happen when silence wins out over decency for too long—and why the scariest threat of all might be the idea that sooner or later, girls will be girls.
“No thanks,” I said, taking a step back.
There was no point in entering the building. I would not live among them. That was a deal breaker, I explained. I thanked Greg for the tour and told him I had to be on my way. He told me I was being rash. I had driven two hours; the least I could do was take some time to think it over.
Greg gave me a hand-rendered map of the school grounds, which I think he drew himself. Either way, it was not beholden to any concept of scale or structural accuracy.
Greg walked me to the edge of Fielding Field and suggested I take some more time before I made a final decision. I come back to that moment again and again. So many lives would have taken a different course had I not gone for a walk in the woods. That walk changed everything.
From Fleming Square I followed George Eliot Trail past Evelyn Waugh Way, and continued for about a quarter mile, until I came upon a tiny stone cottage. It was at least ten minutes’ walk from Fleming Square and, at that time of year, surrounded by vibrant wildflowers. Cedar, pine, and maple trees towered over everything. A pond nearby rippled under the drizzle. It sounded so much better than that machine I’d bought to help me sleep.
The perfection of it all I now see as a trick, not of nature but of my own mind. I needed a sign, even a wink, from the universe to believe that I was making the right decision. I ignored the fact that the foundation was cracked and some of those stones resembled Jenga pieces. When I looked for the cottage on the map, it wasn’t there.”