Excerpt from A Perfect Stranger by Roxana Robinson, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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

A Perfect Stranger

And other stories

by Roxana Robinson

A Perfect Stranger by Roxana Robinson X
A Perfect Stranger by Roxana Robinson
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Apr 2005, 256 pages
    Paperback:
    Mar 2006, 256 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse Review Team

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


Grandmère appeared behind him. Grandmère was narrow and elegant. She wore a long dark dress, and her white hair was parted on the side. It was straight at first, then turned to dense mannerly curls, pressed flat against her head. Her mouth was eternally pursed in a gentle smile. Grandmère was from Charleston, South Carolina, but her mother's family had been from Baton Rouge, where they spoke French. She had been brought up to think English was common, which was why we called our grandparents "Grandpère" and "Grandmère."

"Here you all are," Grandmère said faintly. She sounded pleased but exhausted, as though we were already too much for her. She stood gracefully in the corner of the arched doorway, leaning her hand against it and smiling at us. We milled around, taking off our coats and being kissed.

Huge had come inside, and now held his plumy tail tensely up in the air, his head high and wary. Tweenie, Grandmère's horrible black-and-white mongrel, snake-snouted, sleek-sided, plump and disagreeable, appeared in the doorway behind her. The two dogs approached each other, stiff-legged, slit-eyed, flat-eared. They began to rumble, deep in their throats.

"Now, Tweenie," Grandmère said, not moving.

"Oh, gosh," said my father from the other side of the room. "Get Huge, will you, Sam?"

Sam was the closest, but we all took responsibility for our beloved Huge. We all began shouting, and pummeling his solid lovely back, sliding our hands proprietarily into his deep feathery coat. "Huge!" we cried, sternly reminding him of the rules, and demonstrating to the grown-ups our own commitment to them. Of course this was hypocritical. We believed that Huge could do no wrong and was above all rules, and that Tweenie was to blame for any animosity, in fact for anything at all. We thought that Huge was entirely justified in entering her house and attacking her, if he chose to do so, in her own front hall, like some pre-Christian raider. Huge ignored our calls to order, shaking his broad brown head, his eyes never leaving Tweenie's cold stare. I laid my head against Huge's velvet ear.

"Huge," I said, holding him tightly around the neck, "no growling."

We did not touch Tweenie: she bit us without hesitation.

"Now," Grandpère said firmly, "Tweenie, come here."

The authority in his voice quieted us all. Tweenie paid no attention, but Grandpère strode across the rug and took her powerfully by her wide leather collar. Tweenie's growls rose suddenly in her constricted throat, and she twisted her head to keep Huge in sight as she was dragged away.

"Oh, dear," said Grandmère gently. "Tweenie gets so upset by other dogs."

Huge, unfettered and unrepentant, trotted triumphantly in small swift circles on the rug, his thick plumy tail high.

"Huge," I said sternly and banged on his back. I looked at my father for praise, but he was making his way toward us through the luggage. When he reached us, he grabbed Huge's collar.

"Now, hush," my father said sharply to Huge. Huge, who had never been trained in any way, ignored my father completely. My father pulled him in the other direction from Tweenie, and Huge whined, twisting his great shaggy body to get a last view of Tweenie's smooth repellent rump. Tweenie was being slid unwillingly, her feet braced, past the front stairs and past the little closet where the telephone was, through the small door behind the staircase that led into the kitchen quarters.

Excerpted from A Perfect Stranger by Roxana Robinson Copyright © 2005 by Roxana Robinson. Excerpted by permission of Random House, 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!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket
    Driving Miss Norma
    by Ramie Liddle, Tim Bauerschmidt
    In my cultural life, I've met and been awed by two Normas: The demanding, clueless, fiercely ...
  • Book Jacket
    Driving Miss Norma
    by Ramie Liddle, Tim Bauerschmidt
    In my cultural life, I've met and been awed by two Normas: The demanding, clueless, fiercely ...
  • Book Jacket
    The Last Ballad
    by Wiley Cash
    A hundred years ago or so, farming land west of Charlotte, North Carolina was given over to giant ...
  • Book Jacket
    The Graybar Hotel
    by Curtis Dawkins
    We – those of us on the outside – are lucky. So very lucky. We get to experience life &#...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
Salt Houses by Hala Alyan

From a dazzling new literary voice, a debut novel about a Palestinian family caught between present and past.

About the book
Join the discussion!

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    A Place for Us
    by Fatima Farheen Mirza

    A deeply moving story of love, identity and belonging--the first novel from Sarah Jessica Parker's new imprint.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win If You See Me, Don't Say Hi

If You See Me, Don't Say Hi by Neel Patel

Patel's stories introduce a bold and timely new literary voice.

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

A P Saved I A P E

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.