Excerpt from Our Kind by Kate Walbert, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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

Our Kind

A Novel in Stories

by Kate Walbert

Our Kind
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Apr 2004, 195 pages
    Jan 2005, 208 pages

  • Rate this book

Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse Review Team

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt

Ricardo, the pool boy, served sandwiches. We had spent a few days per Canoe's instruction, contemplating the responsibility of our action: the absolute commitment, the difficulty, the discipline, the sacrifice. Esther Curran now sat among us. Someone had invited her. She was speaking of how He had shown her a Cape near Grendale Knoll after Walter's death, when she had believed she couldn't bear it -- the house, the reminders -- and how she, Esther, was no longer a beautiful woman. Here Esther peeled the crust off her sandwich and looked away.

We sat around her in Canoe's wrought-iron; it was too cold to lounge. The weather had suddenly turned, and the reason we sat around the pool at all was beyond us, unless it had something to do with Ricardo. We watched him receding toward the pool house then turned back to Esther.

This was the point, Esther was saying, though we may have lost it.

He had taken her hand. He had stroked it. He had told her of the possibilities. There wasn't much to be done -- the demolition of the Florida room, a few shingles rehung, refurbishing the kitchen. Think of it, He had told her.

We watched Esther with looks on our faces. We had never understood her. Rich as Croesus, she drove a Dodge and compared prices at the Safeway. Her husband, Walter, had died years ago, but she still referred to him as if he had run downtown for milk and would be back any minute. She allowed her hair to gray, her nails to go ragged. True, she had always been our eccentric -- an artist, she kept chameleons in her living room draperies and would often arrive at parties with paint on her hands -- but more than once in recent years, we understood, she had been escorted in the early hours of the morning, found wandering in robe and slippers on the old Route 32, luckily rarely traveled, for she could have been struck down as easily as a stray dog.

Now here she was among us.

"Intervention," she said, "is not a word of which I am particularly fond." Esther cut her crustless sandwich into nine even squares. "Walter and I are of the live-and-let-live philosophy," she continued, "but in certain unavoidable circumstances, such as the one we confront here today, I say, yes. I say, intervene." She picked up a square and we waited, thinking Esther might have more to add, but she simply smiled and popped it whole into her mouth.

"Frankly," Canoe said, this to Pips Phelp, who had convened the meeting and sat at the edge of us in a deck chair, "I don't want to hear about Him wrapped around a telephone pole. I wouldn't be able to live with myself."

Pips Phelp nodded. We knew him from the Club, one of a number of men who zipped by in a cart heading elsewhere, gloved hand guiding the wheel. He seemed to have little to say, too quiet for an interventionist, though Canoe insisted he was skilled in these matters. And we had read in the literature that we needed him: a leader, a discussion initiator.

"Understood," he said.

We agreed to meet the next day in the Safeway parking lot for a run-through. Pips Phelp would play His part. Did we understand fully, Pips had explained, that this would be tantamount to ambush? There would be little time, he said. He will fight you. He will want to flee. He will deny your accusations. You will have to talk quickly. Under absolutely no circumstance can you allow Him to leave the vehicle. (We had decided that this would be the place we'd find Him.) When it is over, one of you will get behind the wheel and drive Him to the Center. You will check Him in. It has been arranged.

Pips Phelp now sat in his Buick, the motor running. We saw him clearly though we pretended not to: This was part of the plan. We pulled in in Viv's Suburban and got out one at a time, no one saying a word. Canoe gave a short whistle and we circled the Buick, feeling the rush of the boarding-school escapade. What were we doing? Was anyone watching?

Copyright © 2004 by Kate Walbert

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!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Of Arms and Artists
    Of Arms and Artists
    by Paul Staiti
    In the late eighteenth-century, the United States of America was still an emerging country, ...
  • Book Jacket: So Say the Fallen
    So Say the Fallen
    by Stuart Neville
    Noir crime fiction – Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett anyone? – is an American invention...
  • Book Jacket: The Mothers
    The Mothers
    by Brit Bennett
    Every now and then the publishing industry gushes about a young author destined to become the next ...
Book Discussions
Book Jacket
The Bone Tree
by Greg Iles

An epic trilogy of blood and race, family and justice.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Comet Seekers
    by Helen Sedgwick

    A magical, intoxicating debut novel, both intimate and epic.

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    The Next
    by Stephanie Gangi

    Fast-paced, wickedly observant, and haunting in the best sense of the word.

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Cruel Beautiful World
    by Caroline Leavitt

    A fast moving page-turner about the naiveté of youth and the malignity of power.

    Read Member Reviews

Win this book!
Win The World of Poldark

Win the book & DVD

Enter to win The World of Poldark and the full first series on DVD.


Word Play

Solve this clue:

One S D N M A S

and be entered to win..

Books that     

 & 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.


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.