Caelum Quirkes a middle-aged schoolteacher. Students at Columbine High School generally respect him and turn to his wife Maureen, the school nurse, when in trouble. When he has to return to his home town for the funeral of his beloved aunt, Maureen promises to join him the next day – but she goes to work that morning, and that’s when the shootings happen. She hides in a cupboard, unable to see what’s happening, but listening to the students being taunted, then killed.
Life can never be the same. But what can it be? In the face of Maureen’s trauma, Caelum searches for meaning, delving into his own family history and discovering that nothing was as he’s always been told. As the couple inch towards recovery and suffer setbacks, the stories of Caelum’s redoubtable ancestors illuminate how he came to be the man he is, and how he and Maureen might live in the future with freedom and dignity. With no easy answers, Caelum gradually comes to an understanding of who he really is and what he can believe in.
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