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This short story collection offers snapshots of a life:
– A kid is set up by an old uncle to think he’s going to be scalped. Seeing demons in every shadow a few nights later, he’s told by an older cousin it was all a joke, that adults always seem to want kids to go through the same bad things they did.
– Riots and war. Conscription. The fights, the violence no longer just yarns heard late at night. Drafted at eighteen, he has to decide, will he go halfway round the world to kill people he has no earthly quarrel with?
– Teaching in a tiny mountain town. Some kids, he’s told early on, are just too dumb to bother with.
– Signing on for a salesman’s pay. Hit your quota or hit the road.