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Camp Echo

Camp Echo

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Camp Echo

ratings:
3.5/5 (20 ratings)
Length:
68 pages
1 hour
Released:
Jul 9, 2019
ISBN:
9781094400006
Format:
Book

Editor's Note

Scribd Original…

Get ready for camp with our first fiction Scribd Original from Paul Theroux. For three weeks, Andy Parent attends Camp Echo with other Boy Scouts, where they teach each other difficult lessons about masculinity, social class, and race that will last a lifetime.

Description

Celebrated as the “Indiana Jones of American literature,” legendary author Paul Theroux has explored the world and shared his vision of it in more than 50 books of bestselling fiction and nonfiction.

In Camp Echo, his new novella for Scribd Originals, Theroux delivers a compelling coming-of-age story about racism, masculinity, morality, and leadership. Inspired by his own experiences as a Boy Scout in the early 1950s, Theroux writes with precision and vivid detail, drawing from his days as a teen in the wilderness battling his own definition of what it meant to be a man. His is a tale both classic and decidedly of this moment, when prejudice and intolerance are again on the rise.

Andy Parent is a well-mannered, intelligent, and conscientious teenage boy who goes to summer camp to learn what all Boy Scouts were sent to camp to learn in the 1950s: strong values and character. Upon his arrival at Camp Echo, the camp director tells Andy and his peers that this summer program is meant “to give America a new generation of men of character, with ingrained qualities that make for good citizenship.”

Andy settles into his cabin with the other “P” boys: Paretsky, Pomroy, Pinto, Phelan, and Pagazzo. Between making lanyards, swimming, and learning to shoot, Andy learns just how little he knows of the world, and how hard it can be for anyone who seems “different” to fit in. As he witnesses bullying and bigotry—both from fellow campers and from the counselors tasked with teaching and protecting the boys—he is faced with the choice of whether to fall in line or remain true to himself.

Nostalgic and nuanced, Camp Echo invites readers to explore the formative experiences that turn a child into an adult. It is a work that will touch anyone who remembers the challenges of adolescence and recognizes the personal and societal trauma wrought by casual prejudice and other cruelties. A morality tale punctuated by the colorful humor and put-downs of adolescent boys, it challenges us to choose when to laugh and when to squirm. As with all great fiction, it is a timeless story, one that speaks as much to the times we’re living in as it does to the time in which it is set.

Released:
Jul 9, 2019
ISBN:
9781094400006
Format:
Book

About the author

Paul Theroux’s acclaimed books of fiction and nonfiction include The Mosquito Coast, Mother Land, Hotel Honolulu, The Great Railway Bazaar, Dark Star Safari, and the forthcoming On the Plain of Snakes, about his journeys in Mexico, which will be published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in October 2019. He lives in Hawaii and on Cape Cod.


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Camp Echo - Paul Theroux

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AT THE ENTRANCE to the camp, a man in khaki shorts, white T-shirt, and moccasins—a man dressed as a boy—was waiting at the gatehouse, which was like a sentry box. He raised his hand for us to stop, and smiled at my father’s open window. His hair was buzzed to a whiffle, he had pointed ears, and his face was sunburnt, his nose red and peeling. He held a clipboard in his hairy hands.

Camper? he asked, raising the clipboard.

Right here, my father said. Andy Parent.

Welcome to Camp Echo.

He’s all yours, my father said, and, to me, the last words I was to hear from him for three weeks, Be good.

• • •

We had driven from home, my father and me, as usual without saying much. There was no radio in our old car, a 1938 Nash Lafayette with a thunderous muffler. My father’s silences discouraged me from being a talker, and made me watchful. Today he was taking me away to Boy Scout camp. The thought that I’d be alone there reminded me that I was small for my age, a skinny boy, with my hatchet on my lap and a foretaste of loneliness in my throat.

Past the close-together white clapboard houses on our street, we rolled down the hill to where the bungalows thinned out at the margin of the oak woods. There were no houses at all near Doleful Pond, nor any at the rezza—Spot Pond Reservoir. A straight road beyond that into the low hills for an hour, and finally to the iron bridge across the Merrimack River and along its banks to the darker woods, where Camp Echo sat in a forest of pines at the edge of Echo Lake. Driving north from our crowded suburb, seeing fewer people, my mind eased; the landscape simplified and deepened with each mile on narrowing roads until we were on a dirt lane among log cabins in a forest so green, in such shadows, it was almost black.

I pushed the heavy door open and slipped out of the car and dragged my knapsack and sleeping bag from the back seat. My father reached from his window and patted my cheek in a tender gesture. He backed up the car, then jiggled the stick shift with a crunch into forward gear and drove away in his embarrassing car, which he called the old bus, black and noisy and unreliable, with cracked whitewall tires, chrome curling from the front bumper, leaking oil, trailing exhaust fumes.

In a new setting, among strangers, my father used anxious jokes as exit lines. He’s all yours was typical. But now he’d driven off, and when the car was past the last trees, the dust sifting onto the hot road, I was standing in stillness, with the big man in shorts and moccasins scratching a pointy ear with a hairy finger. At the edge of a big field, the sun behind him, he loomed over me, his face in shadow.

You can use this, he said, seeing me with the heavy pack and the sleeping bag.

A wheelbarrow was propped against a fence. He lowered it and threw my sleeping bag into it. I tipped in my knapsack. I tucked my hatchet handle inside my belt.

I’ve got Andre here, the man said, consulting his clipboard, tapping it with his pen.

Andy, I said.

I’m Butch Rankin—camp counselor. You’re in Cabin Eight. Can’t miss it. It’s past the chow hall on the right.

I took up the handles of the wheelbarrow and steered it through the gate and along the groove of one rut toward a large log structure topped by a fieldstone chimney—the chow hall—then an open field. At the margin of the field stood a row of about twenty cabins, their front doors facing the grass, a pole in the middle, holding a limp flag.

Dirt road, gravelly ruts, log cabins—with my piled-up wheelbarrow it seemed to me that I was wheeling my belongings into the past, a place entirely unfamiliar to me, simple and handmade, smelling of dust and recently sawed wood.

Bumping along the wheel rut, it occurred to me, as the rising breeze seemed to whittle me small, that I was on my own, headed to a log cabin in the forest where I would be living for three weeks, sleeping among strangers. This was new, and faintly worrying. I had spent a night or two away from my family at friends’ houses, but never for so long—days and nights among boys I didn’t know, none of them from my Boy Scout troop.

Camp Echo accepted boys from troops all over the Boston area, the Minuteman Council. My cabin was proof of that, because the five other boys were strangers to me. They had already arrived and chosen a bunk. Two were outside and said Hi while staring at me.

Inside, a boy folding a duffel bag said, That top bunk is free.

A boy with wild hair, lying on his stomach in the next bunk, was looking at a magazine of

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Reviews

What people think about Camp Echo

3.6
20 ratings / 5 Reviews
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Rating: 0 out of 5 stars

Reader reviews

  • (4/5)
    Wow. So many books. I have a lot of reading to do... If you have some great stories like this one, you can publish it on Novel Star, just submit your story to hardy@novelstar.top or joye@novelstar.top
  • (3/5)

    2 people found this helpful

    Overall, it was a good book, but it took quite a while to associate something with each character so you could remember them. With all their names so close together alphabetically, it was hard to develop each boy separately. It also climaxed rather quickly.

    2 people found this helpful

  • (5/5)

    2 people found this helpful

    I loved the idea of Scribd Originals until I read Camp Echo. It's so good, on the level of literary classics, that it should probably be available to all the world. I have a new favorite author.

    2 people found this helpful

  • (5/5)

    1 person found this helpful

    See more if you interested in lastest technology.

    1 person found this helpful

  • (3/5)

    2 people found this helpful

    This was ok but too short for my taste. Short stories.

    2 people found this helpful