Gob's Grief: A Novel
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In the summer of 1863, Gob and Tomo Woodhull, eleven-year-old twin sons of Victoria Woodhull, agree to together forsake their home and family in Licking County, Ohio, for the glories of the Union Army. But on the night of their departure for the war, Gob suffers a change of heart, and Tomo is forced to leave his brother behind. Tomo falls in as a bugler with the Ninth Ohio Volunteers and briefly revels in camp life; but when he is shot clean through the eye in his very first battle, Gob is left to endure the guilt and grief that will later come to fuel his obsession with building a vast machine that will bring Tomo–indeed, all the Civil War dead–back to life.
Epic in scope yet emotionally intimate, Gob’s Grief creates a world both fantastic and familiar and populates it with characters who breath on the page, capturing the spirit of a fevered nation populated with lost brothers and lost souls.
when I speak, they are for war.’” “It’s not easy, is it, Mr. Whitman, trying to improve the world?” Maci Trufant and Gob were married in April of 1872, in Plymouth Church. How they came to be married in the church of glorious, greasy-headed Henry Beecher, Walt didn’t know. He had been under the impression that Beecher and Mrs. Woodhull were enemies for all that Theodore Tilton, Beecher’s chippish adjulant, had been a near constant presence at Mrs. Woodhull’s house the previous summer. Walt’s
stand, on Jordan’s strand, our friends are passing over.” At the end of June, Walt took a trip to New England, to read a poem at Dartmouth College for its commencement. It was a pleasant journey, but it did nothing to distract him from his unhappiness. Maci Trufant came from this country. He did not wish to hate her. He was not jealous, no matter what Hank said. He felt sad, and he felt a fool, and his stomach hurt when he thought of them together, so close and so happy. A person could not
wicked by her presence.” Will looked at the pudgy little queen she indicated, wondering if it really was Madame Restell, the abortionist of Fifth Avenue. She raised an eyebrow at him as she passed. “Anyhow,” Tennie said, “I must return to my work. You are charming but not famous, and I am already familiar with your vices. There’s Mr. Challis, the broker—I’ll follow him.” She stepped away from the wall, swaying under her wig. “Those antique French ladies, what necks they must have had!” She
thought, Shouldn’t they? He was still a physician and a photographer, but though he still labored at these professions, they were no longer his work. Days later, he’d answered Gob’s question. They sat close together at his long table, both of them eating directly from the same roast chicken. Gob said, “What will we eat, after we are successful? If cutting off the chicken’s head only makes it uncomfortable, then what are you left with for dinner? Cabbages?” Will put down his fork and knife and
horrible screaming, so much worse than what the angel had him taste, if only he could have that, just that, be not real. “WHO IS THE GOD OF THE FUTURE?” THE URFEIST ASKED Gob. It was one of two questions he posed repeatedly during their trip to New York. Gob’s first answer was, “Time.” That was wrong, and warranted a savage beating. On the first night in the house on Fifth Avenue, as they stood in a library full of clocks, the Urfeist asked the question again. This time Gob said, “Death.”