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323 pages, Paperback
First published August 24, 1999
FOR OTHER FATHERS in homes not far from his the afternoon was playing out in rather different fashion. Suddenly the prospect of watching their children die became very real.
Whom did you save? Did you seek to save one child, or try to save all, at the risk ultimately of saving none? Did you save a daughter or a son? The youngest or your firstborn? Did you save that sun-kissed child who gave you delight every morning, or the benighted adolescent who made your day a torment—save him, because every piece of you screamed to save the sweet one?
And if you saved none, what then? How did you go on?
At 7:30 P.M., the wind shifted again, this time from east to south. And again it accelerated. It moved through the city like a mailman delivering dynamite. Sustained winds must have reached 150 miles an hour, gusts perhaps 200 or more.
The sea followed.
Galveston became Atlantis.
The air contained water: haze, steam, vapor; the stench of day-old kill and the greetings of men glad to awaken from the cool mystery of night...An invisible paisley of plumes and counterplumes formed above the earth, the pattern as ephemeral as the copper and bronze veils that appear when water enters whiskey.