Reflections in a Curved Glass by Jack Dawson Summary
Palmer Bullock has made a good life for himself. All of his many accomplishments have been based on his very high and rigid principles and his rules of ethical conduct. Some would think such a life grueling and unrewarding, but for Palmer, it is the easy way; rewarding in its certainty and pleasing to his sense of right and wrong. He has a good law practice, a generous gentleman's farm, a pretty wife, a son, and a daughter. Then, one remote act sets in motion a chain of events which, like cascading dominos falling one upon the next, upsets his entire world: his confidence in his rules of life, his confidence in his self-control and self-determination, and his belief in himself as a good man. The story of Palmer's fall includes passion overriding reason, questionable business dealings, a haunting injustice from the distant past, and the friendship of a lifetime. Jack Dawson, the author, was born in October of 1940, in Bainbridge, Georgia-a still-small town, in the southeastern part of the state, split evenly by the sleepy and serene Flint River-and grew up in Valdosta, Georgia, where he graduated high school in 1958. Being young and without sufficient direction or initiative to pursue an education, he joined the U. S. Navy and enjoyed nearly four years of great adventure at sea. This was in the day when all healthy males did their time in service to their country; sooner or later; by joining voluntarily, through the path to gentleman-hood offered by the ROTC in college, or by draft. After finishing his militarily obligation and being released from active duty, and having gained an immeasurably greater sense of maturity and personal responsibility, he decided to pursue a college education. He studied for a year at a local college, making the dean's list in order to offset his abysmal high school academic record, before he was then accepted at Georgia Tech, in Atlanta, where he majored in aerospace engineering. During his junior year, he, just by chance, took a ride with a friend in a two seat air plane; and his life would never the same. He quit school after finishing his junior year and, after applying was hired by a major airline to work in the engineering department, all the while learning to fly and building hours and, at night, earning a degree in Mathematics. Eventually, he was transferred to Flight Operations where he flew the big jets until retirement in 1999. He then moved to remote region of the West Virginia mountains, where he began to write in earnest. An urge to write had always been in the back of his head, kept there by the many obligations, necessary and otherwise, of day to day living. Soon, through the auspices of a new found friend, a sporting magazine writer, he was writing a weekly column for a local newspaper, and, aside from that, began writing a novel and converting some of his columns into short stories The writing of the short stories, he found, provided an interlude in his writing of the novel which allowed the characters therein to decide what they were going to do.