Erskines's Box : When Erskine Flesching returns to the sprawling seaside house of his childhood to reinvent himself, he finds it badly worn and his mother no longer the glamorous redhead he once adored. Indeed, he decides, she is also losing her wits. But then Erskine is not the most reliable witness. He admits to being forty, that he has been a famed opera singer, and that he was banished from home when he was ten. What he won't spell out is what happened in his youth to make him so twitchy about sex, or why so many people from his past - father, sister, lover, and patroness - appear to be dead. And now, as he reveals the dramatic events since his homecoming, he seems to be addressing a young woman who has stolen his heart and a young man who has stolen his secrets. Can he be trusted? Is this wish fulfillment by one starved of love and affection, or the confession of a madman?