By Gillian Flynn
March 14, 2003 at 05:00 AM EST

The Boy on the Bus

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Schupack’s debut novel is at once familiar and eerie, like discovering a bird fluttering recklessly about your living room. On an ordinary day, Meg meets the returning school bus and finds an 8-year-old who looks like her son, but isn’t. The new Charlie is stiffly polite, a tad more complete. And he’s lost the debilitating asthma that plagued Meg’s boy. Has the care-weary Meg, estranged from Charlie’s father, exhausted by mothering, willed this perfect boy into being…or is she refusing to accept a son who no longer needs her? Did Charlie disappear to reunite his family…or did they reunite because Charlie disappeared? The Boy on the Bus is a chillingly twisty psychological drama about love and need — one that turns on itself as seamlessly as an elegant Escher.

The Boy on the Bus

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