Excerpt from By Way of Water by Charlotte Gullick, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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

By Way of Water

By Charlotte Gullick

By Way of Water
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • Hardcover: Aug 2002,
    256 pages.

    Publication Information

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt

Justy stood at the window, thinking about the snow, the house a fortress of shadows, and traced a river on the windowpane, a deer leaping over the jagged line of water. Anything not to feel her stomach tumble in hunger again. She tried to remember the last time the lights were on—maybe a week ago—and she wished Jake would pick up the fiddle and distract them, like he'd done every night this week. Before he'd gone into Sullivan's with the can of pennies and tried to buy food. Before Dale had broken one of her baptismal promises to Jehovah. As the silences swelled in the dark house, Justy gathered to her the sure knowledge that something was breaking; she heard it beneath the softness of the falling snow. She looked out into the night and asked Jehovah to take something from her, to help Jake and Dale find a way. She traced another river and watched it slide down the glass. Then Jake stood up from the kitchen table, his shadow raging on the wall.

"I'll do it, then," he said. Dale brushed her blond hair from her face and looked at him sideways as he moved into the hallway. They heard him gather a rifle into his arms and check a clip for bullets. Then he was walking, fiddle in one hand, rifle in the other. He opened the door, and cold air waltzed into the room. The night took him in seconds. Justy ached after him and watched his taillights disappear.




This is when it happened. When Justy was left speechless, her quiet ways easing her task, when she gave over her voice, swam to the bottom of the Eel River, slipped her tongue in among the rocks and fell into the currents of their minds.

Jake drove the truck from the house, tuned for a flicker of animal movement. The Willys whined in the cold and it seemed as if he'd entered a kaleidoscope, the snow flying at him. He stopped the truck at the Cedar Creek opening, pushed his glasses up the bridge of his nose with his pinkie and stepped into the night. With Kyle's .30-30 in one hand, a flashlight in the other, he walked from the truck, trying to think like winter deer. The rifle felt good in his hand, like it might bring him luck. Snow whispered the land white and he felt large in all that stillness. Only the tree trunks loomed dark at him. It confused him, this blanket, making his world a place he didn't know. Jake walked the hill, snow packing under his weight with small crunching sounds. He wanted to whistle to make the night less lonely, but he kept quiet. The flashlight beam cut the flakes, revealing a trail, and Jake followed the muted hoofprints to a young black oak tree. The lower branches were nibbled down in spots, and Jake took off his glove and dug his thumbnail into the tender skin of the tree. He imagined a deer's soft muzzle stretched up to scrape its teeth along the branch, hunger extending its reach.He let go of the tree and sighed, holding his palm upward. Snowflakes landed on his bare skin and melted. It had been a lone deer and had paused here hours before. Jake put the glove back on and walked down the hill.

The engine sliced the quiet and he blinked, trying to see beyond his fogged glasses. He pulled off his gloves again and looked at his hands. They seemed so useless in the winter. The black hairs on the backs of his fingers looked like limbless trees bending over the knolls of his knuckles. Under those trees, the land was pale, like the falling snow. The red soil under the blanket of white contained nickel, and the mining company wanted it, wanted to sink their big machines into the mountain and take out its insides. He'd seen pictures of strip mines, the way the earth seemed naked and weak. He flexed his fingers and put the truck into gear, considering where to look next. He decided to head toward the old hunting cabin another mile uphill. The tires rolled over the unbroken snow, and he tried not to pay attention to how the tree branches beckoned him. He had to shift into low four-wheel to make it up the last incline, and still the back tires slid when he came to a stop.

Copyright 2002 by Charlotte Gullick. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced without written permission from the publisher, Blue Hen.

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 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 ...
  • Book Jacket: Hyde
    Hyde
    by Daniel Levine
    In Robert Louis Stevenson's 1886 novel, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, the story ends ...

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.