The Hands of Strangers

A Novella

Michael Farris Smith

Simon & Schuster (S&S) (publisher)

In the tradition of The Stranger and The Old Man and the Sea, this taut novella by critically acclaimed novelist Michael Farris Smith (Rivers, 2013) explores the human spirit and its capacity for faith and forgiveness in an imperfect world.What happens to a marriage when a child vanishes? Jon and Estelle walk the picturesque Paris streets, but are living through the cruelest of realties—the disappearance of their nine-year-old daughter Jennifer, abducted from the Musée D’Orsay during a class field trip. Jon spends his day slugging through bus terminals and metro halls, posting flyers of his daughter, while Estelle has become a recluse, unwilling to leave the apartment in case the telephone rings. Their relationship suffers as the passing time chips away at the hope of Jennifer’s return. Then, a free-spirited artist enters their life as unexpectedly as Jennifer has left it, luring Jon down a reckless path as he searches desperately for courage in the smallest signs. If their daughter is ever returned to them, will Jon and Estelle both be there to welcome her home?

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