An immensely powerful story, The Night Inspector follows the extraordinary life of William Bartholomew, a maimed veteran of the Civil War, as he returns from the battlefields to New York City, bent on reversing his fortunes. It is there he meets Jessie, a Creole prostitute who engages him in a venture that has its origins in the complexities and despair of the conflict he has left behind. He also befriends a deputy inspector of customs named Herman Melville who, largely forgotten as a writer, is condemned to live in the wake of his vanished literary success and in the turmoil of his fractured family.
Delving into the depths of this country's heart and soul, Frederick Busch's stunning novel is a gripping portrait of a nation trying to heal from the ravages of war--and of one man's attempt to recapture a taste for life through the surging currents of his own emotions, ambitions, and shattered conscience.
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|Title of eBook: The Night Inspector|
|Release Date: 11-17-1999|
|Allowed Countries (hover)|
|Publisher: Crown Publishing Group|
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|Parent title||The Night Inspector|
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The Night Inspector
"No mouth," I told him.
"If I'm to craft a special order for you," he said
"What is that, a special order?"
"Why, this." He held up the sketch. I looked away from it. "The mask, Mr. Bartholomew" he said. "I make arms. I make legs. I've never made a face, sir."
Through the smell of resin and shellac, through the balm of pine shavings, came the odor of his perspiration, and I thought of bivouac, and our stench on the wind. His thick, ragged, graying eyebrows were stippled with sawdust, as was his mustache. One of the knuckles of his broad hand was bloody, and the end of the other hand's long finger had been cut away many years before and had raggedly healed.
"Yes," I said. "Special. I thought at first you meant order of being. Race. A species of man, perhaps. A special order of nature. I cannot abide such speculation. We have collectively demonstrated, and not that many months before, the folly of such thinking."
He smiled at the drawing, but not at me, and he shook his head. "No, sir," he said. "You are enough like the rest of my custom. Only your face is maimed, Mr. Bartholomew. You have your limbs, God forgive us."
"I suggest that I am proof of His unreadiness to do so" I said.
We examined his sketch again, and he spoke to me of materials and money. It was to be of pasteboard, he decided, so that my head would not be weighed down. He would build many thin layers, each molded to the one beneath, and would protect them with pain...