A community tries to regain its collective faith after the sudden death of a well-loved local figure: high school football star Billy ‘Smiley’ Cain Jr.
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An ensemble thriller which tells the story of four college students, an expectant couple, and a lone survival expert who are confronted by a global blackout that forces them to endure the worst of human nature as society falls apart around them.
It’s 1982, and Taeko is 27 years old, unmarried, and has lived her whole life in Tokyo. She decides to visit her family in the countryside, and as the train travels through the night, memories flood back of her younger years: the first immature stirrings of romance, the onset of puberty, and the frustrations of math and boys. At the station she is met by young farmer Toshio, and the encounters with him begin to reconnect her to forgotten longings. In lyrical switches between the present and the past, Taeko contemplates the arc of her life, and wonders if she has been true to the dreams of her childhood self.
Nick Gunar is a burnt-out, jaded and hard-up former mercenary who is having a difficult time adjusting to civilian life. At the end of his rope, he is hired by the Nitro Mine Corporation to strong-arm the natives of a South China Sea island into giving up their rights to its valuable mineral resources. Nick loathes the thought of another mission, but this seemingly easy job will earn him enough money to get back with his estranged family. He recruits some of his former mercenary buddies to help him with the job. The island people refuse to give up their land and Nick decides to help them fight the greedy corporation that hired him. As greed and treachery begin to unravel, Nick’s band of mercenaries choose sides.
Turin, 1969. Nine-year-old Massimo’s idyllic childhood is shattered by the mysterious death of his mother. The young boy refuses to accept this brutal loss, even if the priest says she is now in Heaven. Years later in the 90s, adult Massimo has become an accomplished journalist. After reporting on the war in Sarajevo, he begins to suffer from panic attacks. As he prepares to sell his parents’ apartment, Massimo is forced to relive his traumatic past. Compassionate doctor Elisa could help tormented Massimo open up and confront his childhood wounds…
In small-town Texas, affable and popular mortician Bernie Tiede strikes up a friendship with Marjorie Nugent, a wealthy widow well known for her sour attitude. When she becomes controlling and abusive, Bernie goes to great lengths to remove himself from her grasp.
When a humorous script-reader in her New York apartment sees an ad in the Saturday Review of Literature for a bookstore in London that does mail order, she begins a very special correspondence and friendship with Frank Doel, the bookseller who works at Marks & Co., 84 Charing Cross Road.