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The Geographer's Library: A Novel Excerpt from The Geographer's Library: A Novel

by Jon Fasman

Driving from Wickenden to Clougham, Joe and I saw nobody. We passed no cars on the road, and there were none in the Lone Wolf's parking lot. Driving through Clougham was like driving through a painting of Clougham. Joe and I pulled up right next to the Lone Wolf's front door. The town’s eerie, deserted feeling added to my uneasiness, and even Joe, who could probably have charmed and wheedled Puhapaev’s eviscerated corpse into conversation, said almost nothing for the entire drive. I was thinking of Hannah, of course, and vacillating between anger, sadness, concern, and confusion, all underlaid with a bit of lust and a dash of regret. My usual emotional range, in other words.

All this for what could have been an obit at the back of a newspaper that a few hundred people would have run their eyes over before throwing away, a piece I could have written on the day of his death (“Distinguished Émigré Professor Dies,” a couple of grafs about his career, maybe a complimentary sentence or two from a colleague, and that sad and stark final sentence, “He has no known living relatives”).

Excerpted from The Geographer's Library, by Jon Fasman. Reprinted by arrangement with The Penguin Press, a member of Penguin Group (USA), Inc. Copyright © Jon Fasman, 2006.