... The novel opens on a cloudy October 23rd. Two friends, William Halloway and Jim Nightshade, both on the verge of their fourteenth birthdays, encounter a strange lightning-rod salesman who claims that a storm is coming their way. Throughout that same night, Will and Jim meet up with townsfolk who also sense something in the air; the barber says that the air smells of cotton candy. Among the townspeople is Will's fifty-four year old father, Charles Halloway, the janitor of the local library, who broods philosophically about his position in life, including on how he misses being young like his son.
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