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The Janitor: Or, Dostoevsky in America

From: MarkBeyer

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Have you ever heard the story of the Hero turned Goat?

At sixteen, Ernest Waine is trapped in a world of hate. He cycles between knowing his friends and seeing enemies watching from the shadows. What has made me this way? he asks. An answer eludes him by day; at night he reads fantastic books in which he can only hope to learn some right path along the potholed roads leading to the end of the twentieth century.

The day Ernest opens Crime and Punishment, Dostoevsky’s voice shouts at him over the noise made constant by his daytime life. What he hears from the Russian master-storyteller makes the case for his next move. Murder, on a notorious scale.Twenty-five years later, Ernest is asked to recall the day in his life when he had planned to kill his classmates. This time he does not hear Dostoevsky speaking, but his own voice coming from behind the horror of what he had done, and what he hadn’t.

The Janitor: Or, Dostoevsky in America carries with it the passions of the frightened, the angry: those children compelled to react in the name of self-defined safety, and lone survival. Sometimes, the sum of all actions does not define a life.

“Let me tell you the one about the Goat turned Hero...”


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