By Jane Hamilton

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"Reading someone else's e-mail is a quiet, clean enterprise. There is no pitterpattering around the room, no opening and closing the desk drawers, no percussive creasing as you draw the paper from the envelope and unfold it. There is no sound but the melody of dial-up, the purity of the following Gregorian tones, and the sweet nihilistic measure of static."

Teenager Henry reads his mother's e-mail and shakes the foundations of his family.

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