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Mercy Among the Children: A Novel

Mercy Among the Children: A Novel

by David Adams Richards

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A family feels the effects of their patriarch’s implication in a tragic death in this novel exploring good, evil, and the freedom to choose between them.

At the age of twelve, Sidney Henderson, in a moment of anger, pushes his friend Connie Devlin off the roof of a local church. Looking down on Connie’s motionless body, Sidney believes he is dead. Let Connie live and I will never harm another soul, Sidney vows. At that moment, Connie stands up and, laughing, walks away. In the years that follow, the brilliant, self-educated, ever-gentle Sidney keeps his promise, even in the face of the hatred and persecution of his insular, rural community, which sees his pacifism as an opportunity to exploit and abuse him. Sidney’s son Lyle, however, witnessing his family’s suffering with growing resentment and anger, comes to reject both God and his father and assumes an increasingly aggressive stance in defense of his family.

When a small boy is killed in a tragic accident and Sidney is blamed, Lyle takes matters into his own, violent hands to protect the only people he loves: his beautiful and fragile mother, Elly; his gifted sister, Autumn; and his innocent, beatific brother, Percy. In the end, only Lyle can determine the legacy his family’s tragedy will hold . . .

Written with abiding compassion and profound wisdom, and imbued with a luminous grace that is as haunting as it is precisely controlled, Mercy Among the Children is epic storytelling at its absolute finest, populated with richly drawn characters who walk off the pages and into history. With a never-failing elegance and humane moral vision that call to mind Joseph Conrad and Thomas Hardy, David Adams Richards has crafted a magnificent, heartbreaking novel whose towering ambition is matched only by the level of its achievement.

Winner of the Giller Prize

Praise for Mercy Among Children

“One of the great novels of our time.” —Alistair MacLeod, author of No Great Michief

“Richards is a stunning storyteller, a cross between Thomas Hardy and Russell Banks.” —Globe and Mail

“One of the most distinct and compelling voices in contemporary literature.” —Toronto Star

“Stark and affecting. . . . Richards shows how powerfully the novel can operate as a mode of moral exploration, a fact sometimes forgotten in the age of postmodern irony.” —Publishers Weekly

“Harrowing and powerful.” —Library Journal

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781628722437
Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing
Publication date: 12/03/2011
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 434
Sales rank: 839,145
File size: 774 KB

About the Author

David Adams Richards is the acclaimed author of numerous works of both fiction and nonfiction. His novel Mercy Among the Children won the Giller Prize and the Atlantic Monthly Editors’ Choice Award, and he has also won the Governor General’s Award and been named a member of the Order of Canada. He lives in Fredericton, New Brunswick.

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