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January 15 , 2010

The Balcer Redemption


When Philip Balcer arrives at a Franciscan monastery on the southern Maine coast for a private retreat, it is clear that he is spiritually troubled. Haunted by the memory of holding his older brother, Peter, in his arms as he died of gunshot wounds thirty years ago, Philip is seeking both solitude and healing, even though he is no longer religious. Even so, he is unable to move forward because of his inability to remember large portions of the past, especially those last moments with Peter. Although he feels spiritually connected to Peter, he also feels as though he failed him.

With the help of Peter’s diary, Philip musters the courage to explore his own past as well as Peter’s, a journey that takes him into the recesses of his memory and reveals his brother’s fascination with the thinking of philosopher Albert Camus. Philip also learns about Peter’s connection to Sean Chisholm and what led the two to an isolated house in Quebec on a summer night thirty years ago. As he delves more deeply into the mystery surrounding Peter’s death, Philip experiences flashbacks, the most powerful of which is triggered by a phone call from his own son.

This tale of two brothers also chronicles one man’s quest to reclaim memories that have eluded him for decades. Can he make peace with what he discovers about his brother and himself?

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