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He finds himself awakening at dawn, when the sea is brightening but the sun still struggles in its bedclothes, and sits down to lash his protagonist a few more times with his authorial whip. And somehow, a bittersweet longing starts to appear in the novel that was never there before. It changes, grows kinder. Less, as with a repentant worshipper, begins again to love his subject, and at last, one morning, after an hour sitting with his chin in his hand, watching birds cross the gray haze of the horizon, our benevolent god grants his character the brief benediction of joy.

—Andrew Sean Greer