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 by Kate Walbert
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

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

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse Review Team

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


"Shhhhh," Canoe says, as if someone has spoken. But no one has said a word. We simply stand at the bottom of Louise Cooper's staircase like bridesmaids waiting to catch the bouquet, but we are not bridesmaids. We are women near the end of our lives. We look up at nothing: the hallway, the bedroom doors.

Still, His voice is everywhere. Which room? Which direction? Canoe climbs. We follow. At the top of the stairs, we pause, waiting. Nothing. No sound at all but something just below the surface quiet. What? Something so familiar: a woman weeping? Our Louise? We walk down the hallway, pushing at doors -- there are so many empty bedrooms. This one simply light from the now-blue sky shining through its open windows onto the poplin spread, pulled taut, pillows fluffed as if Louise is expecting guests; the next one, the same. We move quickly. We hurry. We push on doors, we open closets.

We do not find her until the maid's room. She sits on a narrow cot among little artifacts -- a wire-cage mannequin, a yellow-painted dresser, a children's mirror. On the floor there is no rug. If we were barefoot we would be splintered, but we are not. We are shoed and zipped, buttoned and covered; this we notice because Louise is not. She is without a stitch of clothing, entirely nude.

She covers herself when we burst in, drawing her legs up and arms around to cinch them. She is a ball of flesh, Louise Cooper, leaking from the eyes. She does not need to ask to know our mission; she points, weakly, in the direction of a narrow staircase -- the back way. Esther takes the lead and we hurry, pell-mell, reckless. We sense there is little time and so we tumble down the stairs, our flats nicking the soft wood, our hands slapping cold walls. Released near the back door into the open -- the sudden fresh air, the sudden light -- we run. We tear. We might spread our arms. Fly.

We head out so fast our flats flapped off some way back, seven pair abandoned like fourteen blackbirds in a jagged line, our soft soles hopscotching gravel, rock, then the grassy stubble in the field behind the Coopers', Esther ripping the just-red stalks from their roots, Barbara and Mimi holding hands, running, Viv and Judy behind, Canoe in the lead. We must find Him, we know. We must intervene. We do not want Him wrapped around a telephone pole. We do not want that blood on our hands. We must save Him, mustn't we? We must save Him, quick.

But first, no. First, we must save ourselves.

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 books that entertain, engage & enlighten!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice


Book Discussion
Book Jacket
Being Mortal by Atul Gawande

An eye-opening and riveting look at how how medicine can not only improve life but also the process of its ending.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Never Coming Back
    by Alison McGhee

    A moving exploration of growing up and growing old, and the ties that bind parents and children.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win The Wisdom of Sundays

The Wisdom of Sundays
by Oprah Winfrey

Life-changing insights from super soul conversations.

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

A Good M I H T F

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.