Excerpt from Love and Treasure by Ayelet Waldman, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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

Love and Treasure

By Ayelet Waldman

Love and Treasure
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • Hardcover: Apr 2014,
    352 pages.

    Publication Information

  • Rate this book

Book Reviewed by:
Lucy Rock

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt

"Grandpa?" Natalie said. She had opened his door and was hovering over him, a note of panic in her voice. "Are you okay?"

"Just tired," he said.

"You're sweating."

He could feel sweat pouring down his forehead, pooling in his armpits and between his legs.

"I could use a nap," he said.

He allowed her to hoist him out of the car and help him into the house, but when she tried to follow him into his bedroom, he drew the line. He closed the door and, after a feeble attempt at the buttons of his shirt, crawled under the comforter and let the fever overtake him. He slept for twelve hours and woke at six feeling better than he had in weeks, well enough even to load and light the woodstove. Well enough to put a pot of coffee on, if not to drink it.

Natalie came down soon after. In her flannel nightshirt, with her hair tousled, her eyes puffy with sleep, she was again the little girl with whom he had passed so many early mornings, telling stories of the sack of Troy, the Peloponnesian War, Antigone and Polynices, Odysseus and Penelope. Wildly inappropriate tales, some of them, for a small child, stories of slaughter and mayhem and betrayal. She had adored them.

"You hungry? Want me to make you a pancake in the shape of an N?" He meant it as a joke, but the offer came out sounding unexpectedly sincere.

She smiled. "It 's been a long time since I had one of those."

"Oh!" he said, mildly panicked now that she seemed to be taking him up on his foolish offer, wondering if he had the wherewithal, either in his pantry or in his constitution. "I—I'm sure I could—"

"I'm not hungry," she said.

"Ah," he said, absurdly disappointed.

"How are you feeling, Grandpa?"

"I'm feeling much better." He looked at her. "Did you sleep well?"

"Not really."

"Was the bed—"

"The bed 's fine. I don't sleep well in New York, either." She went to the counter, poured herself a cup of coffee, splashed in a little milk from the refrigerator. When she turned back to him she was holding a slip of paper.

"This is for you," she said. She handed him a check, folded in two. When he opened it, he saw that she had made it out to him in the amount of five hundred dollars.

"It 's what you gave me and Daniel. For our wedding. I'm returning it."

"Honey, that 's crazy. This is just five hundred bucks more you'll have to pay inheritance tax on." He crossed to the woodstove, opened the door, and tossed the check into the blaze.

"So much for that part of my plan," she said, sounding so lost that he almost regretted his action.

"What plan is that?" he said. "Returning your gifts?"

"Don't you think I should? Since the marriage lasted only three months?"

"You want to know what I think? I think that if your little shit of a husband leaves you for some dolly after you gave him twelve years of your life, you are entitled to enjoy the modest consolation of an automatic bread maker. Or a five-hundred-dollar check from your grandfather."

She nodded, a small, childlike nod of submission that made his heart ache.

"I guess I need a new plan," she said.

That was when she started to cry. Softly, for a long time, saying nothing about the grandfather she would soon be losing or the husband she had already lost. He patted her on the back and then, when she showed no sign of stopping, went to try to find her a box of Kleenex. He had forgotten to restock. He considered bringing her a roll of toilet paper, then remembered that in his bedroom he had a drawer full of old linen handkerchiefs, ironed flat. As he peeled one off the stack, he saw in the drawer a little pouch of worn black velvet. He hefted it, remembering with a faint pang the weight of it against his palm. At one time the contents of the pouch had been a kind of obsession. Now the velvet pouch was just one of the things stuffed into his dresser drawers. He wished there was a way to help Natalie understand the flimsiness, the feebleness, of objects, of memory, even of emotions, in the face of time with its annihilating power, greater than that of Darius of Persia or Hitler of Germany. But she would just have to live long and lose enough to find out for herself.

Excerpted from Love and Treasure by Ayelet Waldman. Copyright © 2014 by Ayelet Waldman. Excerpted by permission of Knopf, a division of Random House LLC. 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!

Beyond the Book:
  The Hungarian Gold Train

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 Stranger on the Train
    by Abbie Taylor
    The opening chapter of Abbie Taylor's debut novel, The Stranger on the Train, took me right back to ...
  • Book Jacket
    Night Film
    by Marisha Pessl
    One of the central tenets of Hinduism states that the world as we know it is just an illusion –...
  • Book Jacket: Complicit
    by Stephanie Kuehn
    When seventeen year-old Jamie Henry receives word that his older sister Cate, is being released from...

First Impressions

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

Books that
expand your

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

Find out more.

Book Discussions
Book Jacket

The City
by Dean Koontz

Published Jul. 2014

Join the discussion!

  1.  40Tomlinson Hill:
    Chris Tomlinson

All Discussions

Who Said...

If there is anything more dangerous to the life of the mind than having no independent commitment to ideas...

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

Word Play

Solve this clue:

O O T F P, Into T F

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.