Excerpt from House of the Deaf by Lamar Herrin, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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

House of the Deaf

by Lamar Herrin

House of the Deaf
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Nov 2005, 240 pages
    Paperback:
    Sep 2006, 270 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse Review Team

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


Inside the door of the building was an iron gate, and in order to be buzzed through he was asked to identify himself. The voice—a woman’s—spoke to him first in Spanish and then in an accented but carefully enunciated English. He hesitated, surprisingly reluctant to reveal his name. He identified himself as the father of a student.

There was a doubtful pause, followed by a brief buzz, just enough to let him enter. Two students, both girls, passed him on the stairs. One was heavyset and blond, and the other had frizzy black curls. The curly-haired one looked East Coast; her companion Midwest and corn-fed. They had book bags, and he assumed they were going to class. The first said to the second, "I’m like, ‘Tell me you’re a torero and I’ll scream.’" The second, trailing heavily along, said, "That’s so Spanish!"

He came to a door with a bronze plaque. Centro de Estudios Norteamericanos.

In the director’s office he discovered the woman who had buzzed him through. "Buenos dias," she greeted him with what he could hear was operational cheer. He was struck by her beauty, above all by the warmth in her eyes, which seemed so at odds with the falsity in her voice that he went on guard. The warmth was such that he might have stepped into a greenhouse that housed this single extraordinary bloom. He reminded himself: she was a functionary, assistant to the person he had come to see.

Yes, the director was in. Did he have an appointment?

She knew he didn’t. Amazing—she could speak these rehearsed phrases and look at him that way.

From almost three years earlier he remembered a director’s name. He said, "Is Madeline Pratt still the director of the center?"

If Madeline Pratt was the director, he knew her as an American in permanent residence here, hired by a consortium of choice American universities. He had had no contact with her.

"Si, senor," her assistant said.

"I want to see her," he said with a cool directness. "I have come a long way."

"And you are . . . ?"

"The father of a student."

"Please, could I have a name?"

At that moment a door to his right opened, and a woman stood there with considerably less aplomb than her assistant, also requesting a name.

There was a brittleness about her, an upright, gray-lined brittleness. Her hair was cut short, the dulled color of cornhusks, and it was shot through with gray. She wore a loose-fitting campesino blouse with a matching skirt, but her sweater gave her away. It was a mix of fall colors, even though the month was May and the day was heating up as they stood there. The sleeves were pulled up to the elbow, exposing sinewy wrists. She wore two copper-colored bracelets. The earrings were made of bronze, short dangles of an Aztec design. He thought of Hernando Cortez: with his single-mindedness and handful of soldiers, horses and dogs, he’d burned his boats and given the world these earrings. He looked Madeline Pratt in the eye and said he’d like to talk to her in her office alone.

She had a pleasant, practiced smile she could replace with a matter-of fact one, which told him the facts would not be to his liking. The eyes were hazel, more green than brown, and he didn’t doubt she could turn their natural kindness into something administratively cold.

She showed him into her office. Stepping around her, he picked up the uninviting scent of some herbal mixture. Her walls were decorated with photographs of Spanish cultural monuments—a cathedral altarpiece, coated in gold, a pool reflecting Moorish arches—and there were prints of Spanish paintings, none of which he could identify. One was of two young women, perhaps a century ago, at a beach. They were standing beside the billowing cloth of a bathhouse. The clothes they wore were diaphanous, their hair was, the light that bathed them was a pale diffused yellow.

From House of the Deaf by Lamar Herrin, the complete text of chapter 1, pages 1-15. Copyright 2005 Lamar Herrin. All rights reserved.

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!

One Month Free Membership

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: The Book That Matters Most
    The Book That Matters Most
    by Ann Hood
    BookBrowse First Impression reviewers appreciated the innovative structure of The Book That Matters ...
  • Book Jacket: The Invisible Life of Ivan Isaenko
    The Invisible Life of Ivan Isaenko
    by Scott Stambach
    BookBrowse First Impression reviewers were uniformly impressed by this difficult yet heartwarming ...
  • 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, ...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Underground Airlines
    by Ben Winters

    "The Invisible Man meets Blade Runner in this outstanding alternate history thriller." - PW Star

    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.