Excerpt from Heaven Lake by John Dalton, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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

Heaven Lake

by John Dalton

Heaven Lake
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Apr 2004, 451 pages
    Paperback:
    Mar 2005, 464 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse Review Team

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


Vincent drifted off to sleep lulled by the soft murmur of this voice, and if he woke early enough, he might shamble downstairs in the predawn darkness and find Gloria's light still on, the tape player turned down to a soft hush. He could hear her riffling through papers, the shuffle of her feet on the concrete floor. Soon, she would switch off the light and fall into bed and not emerge from her room until midafternoon. While she slept, Vincent moved about the ground floor, easing himself from one room to another with light, judicious steps.

One evening he discovered Gloria's thick-leafed artist sketchbook on the living room tea table. She was not one for leaving her things scattered about the rooms; in fact, during her first month in the ministry house, she had revealed herself to be an even more secretive and reclusive housemate than Alec. In the bathroom, she kept her soap, toothpaste, and shampoo in a waterproof box beneath the sink. Her coffee and creamer and her groceries, dry foods and perishables alike, were sequestered in various corners of the cupboard and refrigerator. She had never warned Vincent about borrowing or examining these items, but he understood, implicitly, that she regarded her possessions as separate and private.

He opened the sketchbook and peered inside.

Each page contained ten neat rows of calligraphy, ten characters per row, every character recorded with painstaking precision one hundred times. He turned a dozen more pages and was struck by the sheer ardor of Gloria's effort, her devotion to minute detail. Several pages appeared indistinguishable until closer inspection unveiled subtle differences between two seemingly identical sets of characters: an arcing tail that flourished right rather than left, three top-sided garnishing strikes instead of two.

He heard the front door swing open and the low scuffing of Gloria's footsteps on the kitchen floor. He had ample time to close the sketchbook and center it on the table, but there was still the imposing question of what exactly he was doing there on the sofa, the sketchbook the only possible object of interest within arm's length. She nodded toward him and uttered, "Hey, Vincent," as she treaded to her modest bedroom. She stopped and turned. "Hey," she said again. "Did I leave that out?"

"I guess you did," Vincent said. He picked up the sketchbook and held it out. The guilty pressure of it against his fingers caused him to admit his treachery. "I glanced through it, I mean, I hope you don't mind, but it really shows your hard work. I don't know much about writing characters, but it all seems very precise."

Gloria accepted the book, the cast of her face as unreadable as ever. She flipped through several pages examining her own calligraphy. "It's harder than it looks. It's -- I'm not bragging, but I've come a long way in eighteen months. You know I'm working from the same set of primers the kids use in school. About every two months I move up to another grade level. Do you know what that means? I'm learning the same vocabulary a student in Taiwan learns in one school year, except I'm learning it in two months."

"That's terrific. And what grade are you in now?"

"Soon I'll be in the fifth grade," she said solemnly. "It takes the average foreigner five years to become fluent enough to read a newspaper. If I keep at this pace, I'll be reading newspapers in less than a year. And I'll be doing other things, too."

"Like what?" Vincent asked.

"Well, translation for one thing, and something else." She ran her fingers along the sketchbook's metal spirals. "It's a special project I'm working on in my spare time. I showed it to Reverend Phillips and he likes the idea. A lot," she added. "Do you want to see it?"

"All right."

She made a beeline for her room and returned a moment later with another sketchbook. She sat beside Vincent on the wooden sofa and in her enthusiasm leaned intrusively against his left shoulder. He could smell the perfumed scent of her hair mixed with a more earthy, metallic odor of black ink.

Copyright © 2004 by John Dalton

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
    •  

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Boy Erased
    Boy Erased
    by Garrard Conley
    Growing up in rural Arkansas, Garrard Conley did not quite fit the mold of his strait-laced, ...
  • Book Jacket: The Bones of Grace
    The Bones of Grace
    by Tahmima Anam
    The Bones of Grace completes Tahmima Anam's Bangladesh trilogy. The three novels, which can be ...
  • Book Jacket
    Find Me Unafraid
    by Kennedy Odede, Jessica Posner
    With staggering emotional weight and keen awareness of love and humanity even in the darkest places,...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Book That Matters Most
    by Ann Hood

    An enthralling novel about love, loss, secrets and friendship.

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    All the Ugly and Wonderful Things
    by Bryn Greenwood

    A memorable coming-of-age tale about loyalty, defiance, and the power of love.

    Read Member Reviews

Book Discussions
Book Jacket
This Must Be the Place
by Maggie O'Farrell

An irresistible love story for fans of Beautiful Ruins and Where'd You Go, Bernadette?

About the book
Join the discussion!
Win this book!
Win Lady Cop Makes Trouble

The Kopp Sisters Return!

One of the nation's first female deputy sheriffs returns in another gripping adventure based on fact.

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

Manners M (T) M

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.