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Warlight, Michael Ondaatje

In 1945, World War II casts its shadow over London. The rubble of bombed out buildings is everywhere, but the house in Ruvigny Gardens has been spared. Here we meet fourteen-year-old Nathaniel, the voice of Michael Ondaatje’s captivating novel. At the outset, we learn his father has accepted a job in Singapore for an unspecified time, and his mother, Rose, is packing up, preparing to join him later. Nathaniel learns that he and his sister, Rachel, are to be left in the care of Walter, ‘the third floor lodger,’ a quiet, mysterious man the children call The Moth. They are surprisingly accepting of this arrangement, but this is what children do who feel powerless, and they quickly adapt to their new circumstances and to a house that now  “pulsed like a hive” with Moth’s dubious friends. But when Rachel, rummaging around in the basement, discovers her mothers trunk, carefully packed but left behind, she confronts Walter. There is no comfort in his response. For Rachel, it is a betrayal she will never forgive; and for Nathaniel it is a mystery that he will spend his life trying to unravel. Who is this woman that is their mother? Why did she leave them? What was her secret life in the war? And, who are her enemies that seek revenge and impart the undercurrent of danger that lurks beneath the story. The reader is with Nathaniel every step of the way as he reaches into the dim-lit past to uncover the truth, searching out clues through facts, memories and imagination.  Beautifully crafted, full of characters that leap off the page, this is storytelling at its best. — SHEILA DALEY

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IN DARIEN, OF COURSE!

Find Waldo Local is a great summer vacation activity, and a wonderful way for residents to support local business and the Shop Local movement.

For the month of July, anyone who wishes to participate can pick up a “Find Waldo Local in Darien!” passport at Barrett Bookstore with the names of all the participating sites. Get your passport stamped or signed for each Waldo you spot in the 24 stores around town. Then bring your completed passports back to Barrett Bookstore and enter the grand prize drawing at the wrap up party on Tuesday, JULY 31. Refreshments, raffle and prizes, including a 6-volume deluxe set of Waldo books!

 

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