Harris’s stunning debut novel (after the memoir Ham: Slices of Life) follows an ostracized adolescent who has supernatural healing power and grapples with grief. In 1968 rural Oklahoma, 12-year-old Theo Dalton is bullied for not having full use of his hands after a car accident when he was six, which killed his mother and left his father disabled. Frank Kotori, a Native American veteran who is also taunted by Theo’s bullies, rescues Theo from being pelted by rocks and invites him to his trailer. Frank makes Theo mindful of his healing abilities when Theo miraculously heals a man with a cut arm, and Theo tentatively begins to heal others until word spreads and the town minister accuses Theo of demonic possession. Then Theo’s aunt Lorelei carts him off to join a charlatan healer’s tent revival show, and though Theo’s healings become popular, his growing discomfort at being exploited threatens the whole endeavor. Harris intersperses powerful, aching scenes of Theo decades later as he works as a therapist and no longer uses his powers, which culminate in a session with a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, whom he longs to heal the way he once healed others. This deeply felt, finely tuned story will move readers. (Self-published)
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