The Beautiful Miscellaneous by Dominic Smith
A Novel

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Synopsis

NATHAN NELSON IS THE AVERAGE SON OF A GENIUS. His father, a physicist of small renown, has prodded him toward greatness from an early age -- enrolling him in whiz kid summer camps, taking him to the icy tundra of Canada to track a solar eclipse, and teaching him college algebra. But despite Samuel Nelson's efforts, Nathan remains ordinary.

Then, in the summer of 1987, everything changes. While visiting his small-town grandfather in Michigan, Nathan is involved in a terrible accident. After a brief clinical death -- which he later recalls as a lackluster affair lasting less than the length of a Top 40 pop song -- he falls into a coma. When he awakens, Nathan finds that everyday life is radically different. His perceptions of sight, sound, and memory have been irrevocably changed. The doctors and his parents fear permanent brain damage. But the truth of his condition is more unexpected and leads to a renewed chance for Nathan to find his place in the world.

Thinking that his son's altered brain is worthy of serious inquiry, Samuel arranges for Nathan to attend the Brook-Mills Institute, a Midwestern research center where savants, prodigies, and neurological misfits are studied and their specialties applied. Immersed in this strange atmosphere -- where an autistic boy can tell you what day Christmas falls on in 3026 but can't tie his shoelaces, where a medical intuitive can diagnose cancer during a long-distance phone call with a patient -- Nathan begins to unravel the mysteries of his new mind. He also tries to make peace with the crushing weight of his father's expectations.

The Beautiful Miscellaneous is an extraordinary follow-up to Dominic Smith's critically acclaimed debut, The Mercury Visions of Louis Daguerre. This dazzling new novel explores the fault lines that can cause a family to drift apart and the unexpected events that can pull them back together.
 

About Dominic Smith

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Dominic Smith grew up in Sydney, Australia and now lives in Austin, Texas. He holds an MFA in writing from the Michener Center for Writers at the University of Texas at Austin. His short fiction has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and appeared in numerous journals and magazines, including The Atlantic Monthly.His awards include the Dobie Paisano Fellowship from the Texas Institute of Letters, the Sherwood Anderson Fiction Prize, and the Gulf Coast Fiction Prize. In 2006, his debut novel The Mercury Visions of Louis Daguerre received the Steven Turner Prize for First Fiction from the Texas Institute of Letters.Dominic serves on the fiction faculty in the Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers and has taught recently at the University of Texas at Austin and Southern Methodist University. Find out more at www.dominicsmith.net.
 
Published June 5, 2007 by Atria Books. 356 pages
Genres: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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There are moving scenes before and after his death as Nathan realizes that behind his difficult exterior, Samuel did harbor unconditional love for him.

Jun 05 2007 | Read Full Review of The Beautiful Miscellaneous: ...

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