A debut novel of extraordinary emotional power: When a mute war veteran opens his home to a young boy, he gets a glimpse of life outside his shell--with all its exuberant joys and crushing sorrows.Its been 30 years since a Vietnam War injury left Howard Kapostash unable to speak, read, or write. Since then he can communicate only with sounds and gestures--a condition that makes him appear slow and disturbed. But inside his head, Howie is the same man he was before the war, longing for Sylvia, his high school sweetheart, and mourning his parents and his chance at a family. Howies solitude comes to an abrupt end with a desperate phone call in the middle of the night; Sylvia is being forced into rehab and needs him to care for her nine-year-old son Ryan until she returns. Though Ryans first days with Howie are strained by misunderstanding, his presence gradually transforms Howie and his entire household, which includes Laurel, a soup chef, and a pair of housepainters Howie grumpily thinks of as Nit and Nat. By midsummer, their once-cold home is alive with the happiness, disappointment, and love of a real family. But with Sylvias return imminent, Howie is obliged to wonder if the change is only temporary--and to reconsider, in the process, just what the war cost him.Triumphant and heartbreaking, THE HA-HA tells a singular and engaging story and heralds the arrival of a tremendous new voice in fiction.
Baker & Taylor
Rendered unable to speak, read, or write after a Vietnam War injury thirty years earlier, Howard Kapostash feels trapped by his disability and longs for the life he lost until his high-school sweetheart, recently forced into rehab, asks him to care for her nine-year-old son. A first novel. 75,000 first printing.
Blackwell North Amer
Howard Kapostash has not spoken in thirty years. Ever since a severe blow to the head during his days in the army, words unravel in his mouth and letters on the page make no sense at all. Because of his extremely limited communication abilities - a small repertory of gestures and simple sounds - most people think he is disturbed. No one understands that Howard is still the same man he was before enlisting, still awed by the beauty of a landscape, still pining for his high school sweetheart, Sylvia.
Now Sylvia is a single mom with troubles of her own, and she needs Howard's help. She is being hauled into a drug rehab program and she asks Howard to care for her nine-year-old son, Ryan. The presence of this nervous, resourceful boy in Howard's life transforms him utterly. With a child's happiness at stake, communication takes on a fresh urgency, and the routine that Howard has evolved over the years - designed specifically to minimize the agony of human contact - suddenly feels restrictive and even dangerous. Forced out of his groove, Howard finds unexpected delights - in baseball, in work, in meals with his housemates. His home comes alive with the joys, sorrows, and love of a real family. But these changes also open Howard to the risks of loss and to the rage he has spent a lifetime suppressing.
The Ha-Ha follows Howard down his difficult path to a new life. It is a story about the cost of war and the infinite worth of human connection.
Rendered unable to speak, read, or write after a Vietnam War injury thirty years earlier, Howard Kapostash feels trapped by his disability until his high school sweetheart, recently forced into rehab, asks him to care for her nine-year-old son.