Excerpt from Lowboy by John Wray, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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

Lowboy

By John Wray

Lowboy
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • Hardcover: Mar 2009,
    272 pages.
    Paperback: Feb 2010,
    272 pages.

    Publication Information

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


“Excuse me?” said Lowboy.

“You’re a truant?” the man said.

He spoke the sentence like a piece of music. Lowboy squinted at him. A dignified man with an elegant wedgeshaped beard and polished shoes. His face and his beard were exactly the same color. He sat very correctly, with his knees pressed together and his hands in his lap. His pants were white and sharply creased and his green leather jacket had a row of tiny footballs where its buttons should have been. His hair was bound up in an orange turban. He looked stately and unflappable and wise.

“I can’t be a truant,” said Lowboy. “They’ve already kicked me out of school.”

“Is that so,” the man said severely. “What for?”

Lowboy took his time answering. “It was a special sort of school,” he said finally. “Progressive. They sent me home for good behavior.”

“I can’t hear you,” said the man. He shook his head thoughtfully, letting his thin mouth hang open, then patted the seat next to him. “What did you say?”

Lowboy stared down at the empty seat. It had happened again, he decided. He’d been moving his lips without actually speaking. He stepped forward and repeated himself.

“Is that so,” said the man. He heaved a gracious sigh. “You aren’t coming out of prison?”

“You’re a Sikh,” Lowboy said.

The man’s eyes opened wide, as though the Sikhs were a forgotten race. “It must be a very good school, to teach you that!”

Lowboy took hold of the crosspole and let himself hang forward. There was something melodramatic about the Sikh. Something contrived. His skin lightened slightly where his face met his turban, and the hair behind his ears was platinum blond. “I read about you in the library,” Lowboy said. “I know all about you Sikhs.”

They were coming up to the next station. First came the slight falling back of the tunnel, then the lights, then the noise, then the change in his body. His left side got light and his right side got heavy and he had to hold on to the pole with all his strength. The fact that he’d met a Sikh first, out of everyone in the tunnel, signified something without question but its meaning refused to come clear to him. I’ll think about him when we stop, Lowboy said to himself. In a little while I’ll think about him. Then I’ll know.

The platform when it came was narrow and neglected-looking and much less crowded than the one before had been. He’d expected to find everyone waiting for him—his mother, Dr. Kopeck, Dr. Prekopp, Skull & Bones—but there was no one on the platform that he knew. The doors slid open and closed on nothing.

“The capital of the Sikhs is the city of Amritsar,” Lowboy said as the C# and A sounded. His head was clear again but he still wanted to smoke. “Amritsar is in Punjab. Sikhs believe in reincarnation, like Hindus, but in a single god, like Muslims. A baptized Sikh never cuts his hair or beard.”

“A fine school.” The Sikh smiled and nodded. “An extraordinary school.”

“I need a cigarette. Let me have a cigarette, please.”

The Sikh shook his brown face merrily.

“The hell with this,” said Lowboy.

The train gave a lazy twitch and started rolling. Both seats on the Sikh’s right side were empty. Lowboy sat down in the farther one, mindful of the Sikh’s bony elbow and his legs in their pressed linen pants. He took a deep breath. It was reckless to get close to another body just then, when everything was so new and overwhelming, but the empty seat between them made it possible. It was all right to sit down and have a talk.

He checked to see who else was listening. No one was.  

....

“The Sikh religion is less than seventy years old,” Lowboy said. His words fluttered before him in the air.

Excerpted from Lowboy by John Wray, published in March 2009 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux, LLC. Copyright © 2009 by John Wray. 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!

Who Said...

Music is the pleasure the human mind experiences from counting without being aware that it is counting

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.