Moving Novel About Three Unlikely Friends Coming Together in a Hospital Ward Full of Misfits is Released by Author Martin Drapkin - Published by Dog Ear Publishing

Now and at the Hour, published by Dog Ear Publishing, tells the story of three isolated people who struggle to connect with others and find some meaning in their lives. We meet Billy Malsavage, a young loner who works in B ward in a state institution; Ricky, a 12-year-old who lost the ability to walk or talk after a football injury; and Buddy, a 54-year-old man with severe cerebral palsy.

Cross Plains, WI, April 16, 2010 --( In this novel, we meet Billy Malsavage, a young loner who has been working in B ward in a state institution for about a year. B ward is home to thirty people who suffer from mental retardation or severe disabilities. When Billy gets to know the people he takes care of, like Ricky, a twelve-year-old who lost his ability to walk or talk after a football injury, or Buddy, a fifty-four year old man with severe cerebral palsy, he realizes how little he has to complain about. Together, Billy and Buddy try to help Ricky cope with his new condition and adapt to the strangeness that surrounds them in the B ward.

Now and at the Hour, published by Dog Ear Publishing, tells the story of three isolated people who struggle to connect with others and find some meaning, and maybe even salvation, in their lives. Each chapter of the novel is narrated by Billy, Buddy or Ricky, and reveals their innermost thoughts about themselves and the others in the ward. There’s Gramps, the oldest person with Down syndrome in the state, and his twisted-up little friend Timmy, who spend most of each day holding hands. There’s sullen Arnie, who always wears his stars and stripes hard hat and studies lingerie catalogues. There’s annoying Larry the Whacker and little Davey, who scoots around the floor on his back and dusts the legs of cribs with a washcloth. Little by little, Ricky gets used to his fellow patients and their antics and starts to feel more comfortable in the ward. But when Ricky’s condition worsens, both Billy and Buddy find themselves struggling to keep their spirits up.

Author Martin Drapkin has written a moving novel that will capture readers from its opening pages. The “bizarros” in B ward will linger on in your memory long after you’ve finished reading. Here is what others have said about Now and at the Hour:

“Each short chapter is a soliloquy. I was reminded of Faulkner and J. D. Salinger… Brace yourself for a uniquely rewarding and fun read.” John Scepanski

“Please read Now and at the Hour. It's about us and it matters very little or perhaps not at all if you've ever spent time inside of institutional walls.” L. Kenneth Haynes

“In this deeply moving and eloquent debut novel, Martin Drapkin evokes all the richness of the human condition, embracing the grains that lend our lives their savor.” Ron Wallace, Director, Creative Writing Program, University of Wisconsin-Madison.

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Now and at the Hour
Martin Drapkin
Dog Ear Publishing
ISBN: 978-160844-078-8 224 pages US

Available at Ingram,, Barnes & Noble and fine bookstores everywhere

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