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Winner of the 2011 Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize
Lamb traces the self-discovery of David Lamb, a narcissistic middle aged man with a tendency toward dishonesty, in the weeks following the disintegration of his marriage and the death of his father. Hoping to regain some faith in his own goodness, he turns his attention to Tommie, an awkward and unpopular eleven-year-old girl. Lamb is convinced that he can help her avoid a destiny of apathy and emptiness, and even comes to believe that his devotion to Tommie is in her best interest. But when Lamb decides to abduct a willing Tommie for a road trip from Chicago to the Rockies, planning to initiate her into the beauty of the mountain wilderness, they are both shaken in ways neither of them expects.
Lamb is a masterful exploration of the dynamics of love and dependency that challenges the boundaries between adolescence and adulthood, confronts preconceived notions about conventional morality, and exposes mankind’s eroded relationship with nature.
you something.” “Bullshit you do.” “Father to son.” “Leave me alone. I got no answers.” “Okay. Okay.” Lamb stood. “Let me make you some dinner. You have anything decent around here?” He went back to the kitchen, opened the freezer. “I don’t want anything decent. If I wanted anything decent I’d want meat loaf. And I don’t have any ground meat in there.” “Sure you do, Dad.” “All I want is a little meat loaf. And a little gin. Is that too much to ask? For a miserable man who’s dying all
spend a few days and you take me back.” “That’s correct. And is that running away from home?” She shook her head. “That’s like a vacation, right?” “But a secret vacation.” “Well. I don’t know how I feel about the word secret. It’s more like the kind of thing a teenager would do, right? A teenager vacation.” She wiped her nose with the handkerchief. “And you agreed to this deal.” “Yes.” “No running away.” “No.” “Good,” he said. “I don’t know how it makes me feel, that you were keeping
me?” “Sure.” She leaned back on one hand and took a bite. “If you can get this stuff.” “You can find it at the 7-Eleven.” “I’m not supposed to go in those.” “The 7-Eleven?” “Mom says weird people hang out there.” “That’s a good mom.” “I guess.” “So I’ll send you boxes of potted ham. No return address. It will be very mysterious. And when you open a can you can pretend it’s a love letter.” “Gary!” “Oh, ignore me. You should ignore everything I say.” She made like bearing her fangs when
the loveliest, the most perfect creature he had ever had the honor to touch beneath the face, to take up in his arms. He pressed his mouth lightly to hers—it was very small and chaste. A fatherly kiss. Then he pulled his head back a little and surveyed her face in the dark. “We said we weren’t going to do that, didn’t we?” His voice was raspy. His breath smelled just faintly of beer. “But we both sort of wanted to, didn’t we?” She nodded, and he pulled her in and squeezed her then let go again.
niece.” “Emily?” Lamb gave Linnie an odd smile. “That’s right.” Lamb raised his index finger at Linnie to shush her and turned to the man at the door. Linnie stood, the blankets and rug wrapped around her, and immediately sat down again. She looked at the child not with sympathy or concern but with rage. The girl did not look at Linnie. “It’s a not a shed,” the girl said. “There’s a whole bedroom.” Linnie stared at her. “That’s right,” Lamb said. “Bunk beds and books and blankets and