Young man with a gun

“I first read this novel, as it happens, the day before Seung-Hui Cho shot and killed 27 students and five teachers at Virginia Tech. What the plainly written words I’ve quoted above made me recall with visceral precision was the pleasure I too had taken, many years ago, in closing the action of a rifle home on a single bullet. I recalled the dull sheen of the barrel, the satisfying weight of steel and wood, the pressure against my shoulder, the smell of cordite. It’s not a pleasure that gives me pleasure to recall, but it’s one that is clearly evoked in this unflinching novel, which takes as its subject a single, seemingly small alteration of history and gives its readers new ways to think about those split seconds in which everything can change.”