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Semaphore by G. W. Hawkes


by G. W. Hawkes

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My favorite of Hawkes's novels. Tender and effortlessly spot-on, it's a lovely exploration of its concept. Joseph, the point-of-view character, is mute--for reasons medical science is unable to explain--and can not only see the future, but experiences it. The novel is about how Joseph comes to understand his ability and how he learns to live despite his knowledge of what is to come. Hawkes wastes no time trying to explain how Joseph got to be the way he is, but we buy the set-up because of his deft characterization. This is my second or third reread and I'm always impressed by the seeming ease with which Hawkes puts Joseph on the page. Recommended. ( )
1 vote lycomayflower | Jan 26, 2009 |
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And summer mornings the mute child, rebellious, Stupid, hating the words, the meanings, hating The Think now, Think, the Oh but Think! would leave.
Archibald MacLeish, "Eleven"
for Steven Oliver Tharp, a friend who died twenty years ago attempting to rescue a drowning dog in Bakersfield, California.
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Side by side the houses rise from dirt-hard lots in stuccoed oblongs and low, upright, flattened squares to lean against one another so close the red tiles of their roofs crawl and hump and seethe.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 187844882X, Hardcover)

Joseph Taft has never spoken, though there's no reason why he couldn't. Instead, he has visions, fragments that come to him unannounced and with no explanation of their meaning; yet not even Joe with his foreknowledge can stop the inevitable. After glimpsing an image of his sister, Louise, drowned in a swimming pool, Joe steals a dump truck and fills in the neighbor's backyard pool--in vain, as it turns out, since water-loving Louise dies later in another neighborhood pool designed exactly like the first.

In silence, Joe survives his teen years, learns a trade, and marries Luce. The visions continue, sometimes coming to fruition, other times fading. And in the darkness of a vision in which he raises an axe against his own wife, Joseph bears the burden of truth and the fear that he can't share with any of those who love him. Hawkes pursues the dark side of fortune, the side that illustrates the saying "Be careful what you wish for." --Susan Swartwout

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:37 -0400)

Foreseeing the future is more of a curse than a blessing for Joseph Taft, a mute boy. On receiving a vision of his sister drowning, he steals a dump truck and puts a swimming pool out of commission, but instead of thanks, gets into trouble, social workers calling him rebellious.… (more)

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