Excerpt from Broken For You by Stephanie Kallos, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Broken For You

By Stephanie Kallos

Broken For You
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • Hardcover: Sep 2004,
    368 pages.
    Paperback: Sep 2005,
    400 pages.

    Publication Information

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


"It all looks so good," Margaret said. On closer inspection of the girl’s face, Margaret was alarmed to see that she was wearing a gold ring through her right nostril. She tried not to stare at it. "What is your soup of the day?"

"Split pea," the girl said, and sniffed.

God, Margaret thought, I hope she doesn’t have a cold.

"Well, in that case . . . I’ll take a slice of raspberry cheesecake, a slice of pear ganache, the crème brûlée, and the caramel flan."

"For here?"

"Yes, please."

Nose Ring began punching the buttons of a small calculator. Her fingernails were painted dark blue and sprinkled with glitter. They looked like miniature galaxies. "Do you want whipped cream on your flan?"

"Excuse me?" Margaret said. "Whipped what?"

"Cream. On the flan."

"No, thank you," Margaret said without thinking, but then, "I mean yes! Why not? Whipped cream!"

"Will that be all?"

"Tea, perhaps. Do you have peppermint tea?"

"Have a seat," Nose Ring said. "I’ll bring it out when it’s ready."

Margaret awaited her desserts. On the café walls there were several black-and-white photographs of empty buildings, streets, docks, parks. Margaret didn’t much care for them. There were no people in the photographs, and something about the time of day the photographer chose or the angle at which he took the photos gave even the most benign landmarks—the Seattle-to-Bainbridge ferry, the pergola in Pioneer Square, the Smith Tower—a menacing, doomsday appearance. They made Seattle look like a ghost town, and they reminded Margaret of an old movie. . . . What was it? It took place in New York City; it was about the end of the world. . . . She had found the movie very disturbing, although she couldn’t say why. She couldn’t for the life of her remember the name of it.

"The World, the Flesh, and the Devil," said Nose Ring as she arrived at Margaret’s table.

"What?"

"That old black-and-white movie about the end of the world. You were saying that you couldn’t remember the name of it."

"I was?"

"Uh-huh." Nose Ring began unloading dishes and tea things from a large tray. "Harry Belafonte, Inger Stevens, and Mel Ferrer. The World, the Flesh, and the Devil."

"Oh. Yes."

"Unless you mean On the Beach."

"I don’t think so."

"Gregory Peck, Ava Gardner, and Fred Astaire? Directed by Stanley Kramer."

"No . . . I would’ve remembered Fred Astaire."

"Or you could be thinking of Fail Safe. With Henry Fonda as the president."

"I think you were right the first time."

Nose Ring stood up straight and announced, "I’m a film student."

"I see." Margaret smiled and nodded. She made another effort not to look at Nose Ring’s nose ring. "Well, that must be very interesting!"

Nose Ring sighed. "Do you have everything you need?"

"Yes! Thank you! It looks lovely."

Nose Ring resumed her place behind the counter.

Margaret took a small, yellowed photograph out of her wallet; it was a school picture of Daniel, taken when he was eight. She stared at it.

The whole thing was quite simple, really.

According to Robert Leising, MD, and the various other neurology, oncology, and so-on-colleagues with whom he had consulted, Margaret had a very common type of malignant brain tumor: an "astrocytoma." A slow-growing star. The traditional treatment was surgery followed by radiation.

"What’s the prognosis?" she had asked.

"Well," and here Dr. Leising had pulled one of six sheets of film off the light board and scrutinized it, "your age is—?"

From Broken For You by Stephanie Kallos, (Chapter One, pages 5-12). Copyright © 2004 by Stephanie Kallos. Reprinted with permission from Grove Atlantic, Inc. All rights reserved.

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: Hyde
    Hyde
    by Daniel Levine
    In Robert Louis Stevenson's 1886 novel, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, the story ends ...
  • Book Jacket: Shotgun Lovesongs
    Shotgun Lovesongs
    by Nickolas Butler
    Nickolas Butler's debut novel, Shotgun Lovesongs, follows five life-long friends, now in their mid-...
  • Book Jacket: Gemini
    Gemini
    by Carol Cassella
    How good is Gemini, Carol Cassella's book about a Seattle intensive care physician who becomes ...

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!

  1.  254Cartwheel:
    Jennifer duBois
  2.  170The Weight of Blood:
    Laura McHugh

All Discussions

Who Said...

If you would tell me the heart of a man, tell me not what he reads, but what he re-reads

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Word Play

Solve this clue:

P Your O C

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.