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How to Read and Unwritten Language

When Michael Kirby’s mother begins to create strangely unsettling personalities before the private audience of her three children, she bestows upon Michael a double-edged gift: the ability to see past the ordinary surface of the world. After her performances lead to catastrophe, Michael embarks on a redemptive journey to uncover the hidden languages of his family, his lovers, even strangers. Through Michael’s eyes the reader discovers the unsuspected terrors of a bowling alley, the insinuating force of the daily horoscope, the secret poetry of insurance, and the startling revelations that are possible on a carousel ride. Even simple objects at yard sales and auctions contain stories waiting to be revealed, whether it’s a tape recorder holding the contagiously powerful suicide songs of a doomed lover, or the bent plastic arm of a doll that a timid child once waved to ward off imagined dangers.

At once exuberantly comic and darkly disturbing, How to Read an Unwritten Language is filled with unforgettable stories, narrated by a man who hopes to save others, and himself, through the telling.

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