Excerpt from The World Beneath by Cate Kennedy, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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

The World Beneath

By Cate Kennedy

The World Beneath
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • Paperback: Feb 2011,
    352 pages.

    Publication Information

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Judy Krueger

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt

One

It was the broken-resolution end of January already, and Sandy was sitting in the kitchen drinking decaffeinated coffee with her oven’s green, digital-clock display panel flashing, if you could believe it, HELP HELP HELP instead of the time. Last night, full of the beadyeyed purpose a late-night joint always gave her, she’d stood there trying to reprogram it to bring the clock back without making the bloody oven alarm go off, pressing and fiddling and relighting the stub of her roach, until finally she’d sworn at it and given up.

So now it was signalling her for help. Her oven, for crying out loud. An appliance.

And even though she couldn’t fix the timer, the clock still ran with a snickering whirr, a nasty little calibrated sound of time mouse-wheeling itself determinedly away, even if she was sitting here marooned in the long slack middle of the afternoon, picking hard candle wax off the tablecloth and waiting for the caffeine rush that would never come.

Sandy raised the mug awkwardly in her left hand and took another sip. She was right-handed but her friend Alison had made these mugs on her new pottery wheel a few years back and Sandy had loyally bought them, and there were fragments of grit embedded in a dribble of glaze on the other side, just at the point where you sipped. Just one little gravelly flake of grit, but enough to drive you nuts. It was hard enough picking the things up with the lumpy handles Alison had stuck on. Proletariat cups, Sandy would think as she washed them roughly in the sink, hoping to break one so that she could justifiably throw it out. Nothing would kill them. They were made to withstand a revolution.

She’d recognised the handwriting as soon as she’d fished the envelope out of the mailbox, felt that little twisting jump of tension. No return address, of course. And inside, just a postcard, one of those free ones you get in coffee shops, with his message scribbled on the back.

Would like to ring Sophie for her fifteenth birthday. Please let her know. I’ll call around 6.30 your time. Hope life is treating you well. And a mobile number. That was all. As if he was paying by the bloody word.

Was life treating her well? Sandy frowned, lifted a splatter of candle wax with her fingernail from the batik cloth. Everybody seemed finally to have accepted resignedly that this was the state of play, she thought: you let life happen to you. In it came like a party-crasher, ignoring any plans you might have had for yourself, and treated you to whatever it had in mind.

And you just sat there and took it. Nobody ever said, for example, how have you been treating your life? which made you sound a bit less passive, at least. Maybe that could be the start of an article, something she could write for the community-centre newsletter, or even the local paper.

Did he really have to be so terse, even in a postcard? Not that his brusqueness surprised her — that was Richard all over, exactly as she remembered. Hope life is treating you well would be just what she would have expected — one of a couple of careless, studiously distant sentences as if he’d spoken to her last month instead of about five years ago.

Sandy, in uncharitable moments — and OK, these surfaced occasionally, she was the first to admit — believed that Rich did this on purpose. Whatever he was doing now, and God knows he was evasive enough about that, he made a point of being somewhere exotic around Christmas and Sophie’s birthday, just so he could write things like Greetings from Dharamsala! or Not sure if this will get to you, boat’s not docking in Borneo till next week.

Like this one: 6.30 your time. Please. As if he had to calculate time zones. Like he was going to call from bloody Bhutan.

Excerpted from The World Beneath by Cate Kennedy. Copyright © 2011 by Cate Kennedy. Excerpted by permission of Grove Press. 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
    •  
Sign up, win books!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: The Hundred-Year House
    The Hundred-Year House
    by Rebecca Makkai
    Rebecca Makkai's sophomore novel The Hundred-Year House could just have easily been titled ...
  • Book Jacket
    The Valley of Amazement
    by Amy Tan
    "Mirror, Mirror on the wall
    I am my mother after all!"


    In my pre-retirement days as a professor ...
  • Book Jacket: A Man Called Ove
    A Man Called Ove
    by Fredrik Backman
    Reading A Man Called Ove was like having Christmas arrive early. Set in Sweden, this debut novel is ...

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

Tomlinson Hill
by Chris Tomlinson

Published Jul. 2014

Join the discussion!

Win this book!
Win The Angel of Losses

The Angel of Losses

"Family saga, mystery, and myth intersect in Feldman's debut novel." - Booklist

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

E C H A Silver L

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.