Chapters 1-2 Summary
Snow in August (1997) is Pete Hamill’s eighth novel. In this story, protagonist Michael Devlin, an eleven-year-old boy, struggles to understand the death of his father in World War II as well as the atrocities he discovers in his own 1946 Brooklyn neighborhood. According to Robert Lipsyte, writing for The New York Times Book Review, the story of Michael Devlin is told in Hamill’s characteristically “blunt, didactic, pleasing style” but with a pinch of “magic.”
At the opening of the novel, Michael wakes up to his darkened bedroom, which is shrouded in a December cold. He says he can describe every item in his room without opening his eyes. Michael’s most cherished possession is the Captain Marvel comic book laying on the floor, where he put it before falling asleep the night before. In the absence of his father, a war victim, Captain Marvel is Michael’s mentor and hero. Michael also has a stack of Captain Marvel comic books on top of the metal cabinet next to his door.
Despite the darkness, Michael senses a strange bright light that is attempting to seep into his room from behind the heavy, pulled shade. The morning is too early and his room is too cold for him to investigate this light. He longs to be in the kitchen, where he expects to find warmth, so he hurries there without opening the shade. When he arrives at the kitchen, he sees the blizzard raging outside the front windows. It is the biggest snowstorm Michael has ever seen.
Michael knows he could use the storm as an excuse not to go outside. However, he is an altar boy who is expected to attend the eight o’clock Mass. Michael wonders, would his father have shirked from his duty as a soldier because of a storm? Would Captain Marvel be afraid of a little snow? Would Father Heaney forgive him for not showing up to help the priest serve Mass? Michael knows that no matter how terrible the conditions are outside, he...
(The entire section is 563 words.)