Last year I was lucky enough to read and review Lois Metzger’s A Trick of the Light (you can find the review and interview here.) I absolutely loved it and jumped at the chance to let you all know about the paperback release!
Check out the synopsis and the excerpt below!
A Trick of the Light by Lois Metzger
“Mike Welles had everything under control. He was a good student, an outfielder on the baseball team, a good son, a loyal friend. But that was before. Now things are rough at home, and they’re getting confusing at school. He’s losing his sense of direction, and he feels like a mess. Then there’s a voice in his head. A friend, trying to help him regain control. More than that: The voice can guide him to be better and stronger than he was before, to rid his life of everything holding him back. To figure out who he is again. If only Mike will listen. Writing with devastating power and precision, acclaimed author Lois Metzger gives us the story of one young man’s battle with his own shadows—a spare, stark, and vital tale of the way in which the things we build to protect ourselves can threaten to destroy us.”
Check it out on Goodreads here.
Buy it on the web:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Chapters/Indigo | BAM!| IndieBound
The first time I reach Mike Welles, he’s in a tunnel. It’s hot, syrupy hot, July hot, the kind of heat where your breath going out feels the same as the air going in, or so I imagine. I’ve been trying to talk to Mike but he can’t hear me or can’t listen—the distinction isn’t important. How long has it been—weeks or months, days? Time is a syrupy thing, too, not always so easy to pin down.
Mike is walking with his best friend, Tamio Weissberg, in the long tunnel beneath the expressway. There’s pigeon crap pretty much everywhere, which has earned this place a nickname: the stinky tunnel. They just saw King Kong, the original 1933 version, at You Must Remember This, a neighborhood place that shows only the classics. This is far from the first time Mike and Tamio have seen King Kong, which they hail as the masterpiece of something called stop-motion animation. But it’s their first time seeing it in a movie theater and, needless to say, they were the only ones in the audience without gray hair.
They have to talk loudly because of the whooshing cars overhead, and their voices echo against the concrete walls.
Tamio: “That’s the best death scene in movies. Nobody dies like Kong.”
Mike: “Every time I keep hoping that he won’t die. It’s so stupid.”
I couldn’t agree more. It’s a movie. It will never change. But other things can change. I wish I could tell Mike that.
Mike: “The expression in his face is so amazing—how’d they do that? He’s just a little model of a gorilla, but he looks really, truly in love. Love at first sight, poor guy.”
Tamio: “On the big screen you really notice his fur moving around. You can practically see fingerprints on him.”
Mike: “Well. You can’t help that. When you handle the model—”
Tamio (shaking his head): “Hair spray. Then the fur won’t move as much.”
Mike is always impressed by Tamio’s knowledge of what seems like everything. This summer they’re working at a baseball camp for all of July and half of August, along with a kid named Ralph Gaffney. They’re counselors for the six- and seven-year-olds. It also impresses Mike how much the little kids love Tamio, how they beg to help him with the equipment. They’re actually disappointed when they can’t carry buckets of balls. And when they skin their knees, like a little kid named Ezra did this afternoon, they don’t want to cry in front of Tamio.
Mike: “You know, when Ezra got hurt, Ralph couldn’t care less—he just got mad because it was taking too long to wash the blood off and put on a Band-Aid.”
Tamio: “Ralph’s an asshole. Poor Ezra. Did you tell him he shouldn’t have been trying to steal third?”
Mike: “Not only that, but he was sliding.”
Apparently they’re not supposed to slide until they know how to do it right.
Tamio: “Ezra’s a nice kid, but he thinks he’s in the majors. When I pitch to him, he tries to tell me how to throw a slider. Hey, watch out!” He pushes Mike away from a ton of pigeon crap.
Mike: “Thanks, you saved my life.” He laughs. But he doesn’t feel like it. I can tell. I know everything there is to know about Mike Welles.
Why Mike doesn’t feel like laughing:
Sometimes in June, Mike’s mom, Regina Welles, known as Gina, a professional organizer, started sleeping whenever she wasn’t helping people clean out their closets, and at night began taking baths that last so long, the water must be cold by the time she finally climbs out. Around the same time, Mike’s dad, Douglas Welles, lawyer, started going to the gym. He spends so much time there that Mike hardly sees him.
I don’t know why this bothers Mike. He should relish the freedom all of it gives him. But he can’t resist his natural urge to talk to Tamio.
Mike: “Things have been kind of weird at home.”
Tamio: “Yeah? How so?”
Mike stops walking.
Tamio: “What’s the matter?”
Mike stares ahead blankly.
Tamio: “Are you all right?”
Mike is thinking about how he just heard a voice in his head. A whisper of a voice, but definitely a voice.
Tamio: “What do you mean, things are weird at home?”
Don’t talk about it.
Mike still can’t move, stuck in the stinky tunnel. He thinks, Am I crazy?
Tamio: “Hey, what’s going on?”
Tamio: “Dude. Say something.”
Mike: “It’s nothing.”
Mike knows something’s wrong but doesn’t know where to turn. He thinks things are bad and can only get worse. He has no idea what achievements are within his reach, what rewards await him, how much better his life is going to be.
“Lois Metzger was born in Queens and has always written for young adults.
She is the author of three previous novels and two nonfiction books about the Holocaust, and she has edited five anthologies. Her short stories have appeared in collections all over the world. Her writing has also appeared in The New Yorker and The Nation, and she blogs for The Huffington Post. She lives in New York City with her husband, writer Tony Hiss, and their son.”
Find Lois on the web:
Website | Twitter