Excerpt from Scorched Earth by David L. Robbins, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Scorched Earth

By David L. Robbins

Scorched Earth
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • Hardcover: Mar 2002,
    352 pages.
    Paperback: Mar 2003,
    352 pages.

    Publication Information

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


The room settles for a moment on the stupidity of these two people, and there is the sense that it is a very stable and big platform, their stupidity. The blame is not that these two should have known better than to taunt each other that way, even as friends, but that they are responsible for the birth of another committee. One man in the last row mutters, "Sheez.”

Sipe unfolds his arms. He holds up his hands. Clare sees they are callused.

"All right," Sipe says. "Okay, look. We been told to form this committee and that's what we're doing. Our goal is for us as a group to explore ways to coexist with each other as well as we can. We're going to talk about topics, put together a diversity newsletter and workshops, and after a couple months we'll take what we learn in here out to the mill at large and it'll be a big help. Because I'll tell you for one, I missed my guess at how big this thing is to some folks.”

The woman who wore the Black Thang T-shirt says, "And people, it's not just black and white. It's men and women, too.”

"That's right," says Sipe, and nods, refolding his meaty arms. "We need to find ways to be more sensitive to each other. And it's not just for the mill. It's the whole community." Clare thinks that this man has had his ass chewed out bad to be talking this way.

Then Sipe points at Elijah and says, "We all need to find ways to be more like Clare and Elijah here. More accepting. Like them.”

Elijah's hard hat dangles from his fingers between his spread knees, his eyes turned to the floor. The hat spins a revolution in his hands. He catches it. He stands. The hard hat goes on his head.

Looking at no one, not even Clare, he softly says, "This is y'all's problem.”

Knees and legs slide out of the way, allowing Elijah to exit his row. No one looks up to his face moving past them as though fearful his face is where he keeps the blow he would throw at them if he were to throw one, because it wasn't in his voice.

The trailer door opens with the break of a seal and Elijah closes it gently. When he is gone, again the room ponders on something and now it is Clare. But she has a baby in her belly soon to be born and so she is not disposed to carry the weight of their inquiry. She will not explain Elijah to them, he is her husband and the father of her child and they all, all of them in the world, are not.

Clare stands. She wishes she had her own hard hat to put on. To get to the door she has to pass only one set of legs in her row.

"Look," she says, walking, "you all know him. He's got a mind of his own.”

Clare grips the trailer doorknob. Her back is to the committee. She turns fully to them. The globe of her coming child is included when she says before leaving, "I'm sorry, but we are not your damn role models.”

Four

Clare and Elijah do not like being made to feel they love each other despite something. They are not better people because they have married someone outside their own race. They are not tolerant because the other is of a different color.

They do not in this first year of their marriage discuss race, in the same manner they do not discuss gravity. That he is black and she is white is a subject for others, who once in a while try to hold the matter up to Clare and Elijah with curiosity, seeking feedback and impressions, postcards from someplace exotic and perhaps taboo they themselves will never go.

Excerpted from Scorched Earth by David L. Robbins. Copyright 2002 by David L. Robbins. Excerpted by permission of Bantam, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!
Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    •  
    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    •  
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    •  
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    •  
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    •  
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    •  
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
    •  

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: The Pope and Mussolini
    The Pope and Mussolini
    by David I. Kertzer
    The Pope and Mussolini is a riveting account of the parallel rise to power of the authoritarian ...
  • Book Jacket: The Promise
    The Promise
    by Ann Weisgarber
    Canadian author, Lucy Maud Montgomery of Anne of Green Gables fame, once wrote that "...all things ...
  • Book Jacket: Black Moon
    Black Moon
    by Kenneth Calhoun
    The popularity of book-turned-movie World War Z and television series The Walking Dead points to a ...

First Impressions

Members read and review books ahead
of publication. See what they think
in First Impressions!

Books that
expand your
horizons.

Visitors can view a lot of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only

Find out more.

Book Discussions
Book Jacket

The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry
by Gabrielle Zevin

Published Apr. 2014

Join the discussion!

Win this book!
Win The Steady Running of the Hour

The Steady Running of the Hour

"Exciting, emotionally engaging and amibtious. I loved it!" - Kate Mosse

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

I T T O A Eye

and be entered to win..

Books thatinspire you.Handpicked.

Books you'll stay up all night reading; books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, books that will expand your mind and inspire you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.