Excerpt from Scorched Earth by David L. Robbins, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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

Scorched Earth

by David L. Robbins

Scorched Earth
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Mar 2002, 352 pages
    Paperback:
    Mar 2003, 352 pages

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


The room settles for a moment on the stupidity of these two people, and there is the sense that it is a very stable and big platform, their stupidity. The blame is not that these two should have known better than to taunt each other that way, even as friends, but that they are responsible for the birth of another committee. One man in the last row mutters, "Sheez.”

Sipe unfolds his arms. He holds up his hands. Clare sees they are callused.

"All right," Sipe says. "Okay, look. We been told to form this committee and that's what we're doing. Our goal is for us as a group to explore ways to coexist with each other as well as we can. We're going to talk about topics, put together a diversity newsletter and workshops, and after a couple months we'll take what we learn in here out to the mill at large and it'll be a big help. Because I'll tell you for one, I missed my guess at how big this thing is to some folks.”

The woman who wore the Black Thang T-shirt says, "And people, it's not just black and white. It's men and women, too.”

"That's right," says Sipe, and nods, refolding his meaty arms. "We need to find ways to be more sensitive to each other. And it's not just for the mill. It's the whole community." Clare thinks that this man has had his ass chewed out bad to be talking this way.

Then Sipe points at Elijah and says, "We all need to find ways to be more like Clare and Elijah here. More accepting. Like them.”

Elijah's hard hat dangles from his fingers between his spread knees, his eyes turned to the floor. The hat spins a revolution in his hands. He catches it. He stands. The hard hat goes on his head.

Looking at no one, not even Clare, he softly says, "This is y'all's problem.”

Knees and legs slide out of the way, allowing Elijah to exit his row. No one looks up to his face moving past them as though fearful his face is where he keeps the blow he would throw at them if he were to throw one, because it wasn't in his voice.

The trailer door opens with the break of a seal and Elijah closes it gently. When he is gone, again the room ponders on something and now it is Clare. But she has a baby in her belly soon to be born and so she is not disposed to carry the weight of their inquiry. She will not explain Elijah to them, he is her husband and the father of her child and they all, all of them in the world, are not.

Clare stands. She wishes she had her own hard hat to put on. To get to the door she has to pass only one set of legs in her row.

"Look," she says, walking, "you all know him. He's got a mind of his own.”

Clare grips the trailer doorknob. Her back is to the committee. She turns fully to them. The globe of her coming child is included when she says before leaving, "I'm sorry, but we are not your damn role models.”

Four

Clare and Elijah do not like being made to feel they love each other despite something. They are not better people because they have married someone outside their own race. They are not tolerant because the other is of a different color.

They do not in this first year of their marriage discuss race, in the same manner they do not discuss gravity. That he is black and she is white is a subject for others, who once in a while try to hold the matter up to Clare and Elijah with curiosity, seeking feedback and impressions, postcards from someplace exotic and perhaps taboo they themselves will never go.

Excerpted from Scorched Earth by David L. Robbins. Copyright 2002 by David L. Robbins. Excerpted by permission of Bantam, a division of Random House, Inc. 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!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member
and discover your next great read!

Join Today!

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Opposite of Everyone
by Joshilyn Jackson

"Quirky and appealing characters, an engaging story, and honest dialogue make this a great book!"
- BookBrowse

About the book
Join the discussion!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket
    In the Country of Men
    by Hisham Matar
    Labeled by some as the "Libyan Kite Runner", In The Country of Men does share some ...
  • Book Jacket: Holding Up the Universe
    Holding Up the Universe
    by Jennifer Niven
    Jennifer Niven's spectacular Holding Up the Universe has everything that I love about Young ...
  • Book Jacket: Coffin Road
    Coffin Road
    by Peter May
    From its richly atmospheric opening to its dramatic conclusion, Peter May's Coffin Road is a ...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Victoria
    by Daisy Goodwin

    Daisy Goodwin breathes new life into Victoria's story, and does so with sensitivity, verve, and wit." - Amanda Foreman

    Read Member Reviews

Win this book!
Win All the Gallant Men

All The Gallant Men

The first memoir by a USS Arizona survivor, 75 years after Pearl Harbor.

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

K Y Eyes P

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

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

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.

 
X

Free Weekly Newsletter

Keep up with what's happening in the world of books:
Reviews, previews, interviews and more!



Spam Free: Your email is never shared with anyone; opt out any time.