This Is How
by M. J. Hyland
$19.99 List Price
Patrick Oxtoby, the narrator of This Is How, M. J. Hyland’s third novel, does not appear to have a hopeful future. Although his life started out well—he fulfilled his mother’s ambition by being the first in the family to attend college—he reveals himself within the first few pages to be unfit for society.
Patrick has a strong sense of how he should behave toward others, but he’s often simply struck dumb. “I should say something, but I can’t think what.” “I should say a lot more nice things and make her feel welcome, but she’s got to know I don’t want her here.” He has no natural feeling to encourage him in these gestures, and his constant effort to simulate emotion frustrates and exhausts him. He relentlessly seeks to make a good impression, and the pressure wears him down: He feels it as pain in
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