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 by Lamar Herrin X
House of the Deaf by Lamar Herrin
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

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

  • Rate this book

Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse Review Team

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt

Fate had brought his daughter here. For the last month of her life she’d run around this park, and there on the far side, beyond bushes and trees, he lost her to view. He believed he could hear her then, a sort of whispering pant, like a sound she made in her sleep, but she wasn’t calling him to come drive away the spooks of her dreams. She was simply on the dark side of his moon.

He had no idea of the expression that had appeared on his face. But when Madeline Pratt said, "I can’t let you do this," she was clearly more concerned for his well-being than her own, and he didn’t want that.

"Take me there now," he said. "I want to stand on the spot."

The building occupied the entire side of the block, tan-colored stucco alternating with columns of brick; it was four stories high, its two visible corners dominated by guard towers. There was a guard booth at the driveway leading in. From the sidewalk where he stood he estimated the distance across the street to where two Civil Guards patrolled their stretch of sidewalk at sixty feet. The Civil Guards were dressed in a darker, denser green than army green and carried machine guns slung over their shoulders. Sixty feet was the distance separating a pitcher from a batter. As a teenager he had pitched. These two Civil Guards might have been teenagers themselves. They had fresh bony faces that looked struck from the same Spanish mold. They had vigorous eyebrows and hair along their upper lips. The predecessor of one of them had not survived. Ben asked Madeline Pratt where, and she moved them farther along the sidewalk, up from the headquarters’ entrance. When she stopped, he estimated the distance between them and those two patrolling boys now at ninety feet, or the distance between home plate and first base. As well as Madeline Pratt could remember, his daughter had died here. There was a tree just inside the park, one of those low gnarled trees with what looked like carob pods hanging from its limbs. He could see how the bark had been blown away. What remained of the tree looked indestructible. The car loaded with dynamite had been parked almost directly across from the entrance where the two Civil Guards patrolled. And the blast had caught her here.

"What kind of car?"

Madeline Pratt had newspaper clippings from that day. As documents pertaining to the center she’d felt obligated to keep them. He could consult the clippings.

But she must have remembered the car.

She nodded. It was a Seat Ibiza. She looked up the street and raised her hand and pointed at an unexceptional white car wedged into a parking spot.

"Like that one," she said.

It was a hatchback model. It had no trunk. There would be a storage area for luggage, but anyone peering in . . .

"And other than my daughter and that Civil Guard . . . ?"

"Two more people were slightly injured, and there was a lot of shattered glass. But I hope you’ll believe me when I say it was truly miraculous that there were no other casualties. I know that’s small consolation."

"It’s been two years and eight months since it happened. Look around. If you didn’t notice that tree, you’d never know. That building looks like it never got touched."

"They had to rebuild some. They put up a plaque beside the door."

"I don’t want to see it. What does it say? Does it even mention her?"

Madeline Pratt bowed her head. "No," she whispered, stage-whispered in the traffic noise, the noise of concentrated human habitation, "it’s what they always say when a Civil Guard is killed, that he died for the glory of his country."

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!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: The Overstory
    The Overstory
    by Richard Powers
    Many glowing adjectives can be used to describe a novel by Richard Powers: brilliant, moving, ...
  • Book Jacket: American Histories
    American Histories
    by John E. Wideman
    In American Histories, a collection of 21 short stories, John Edgar Wideman draws America's present ...
  • Book Jacket: I Found My Tribe
    I Found My Tribe
    by Ruth Fitzmaurice
    Ruth O'Neill was only 28 when she married film director Simon Fitzmaurice in 2004. Changing her...
  • Book Jacket: The Art of the Wasted Day
    The Art of the Wasted Day
    by Patricia Hampl
    Patricia Hampl wants you to know that daydreaming is not a waste of a day. Nor is spending time ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
Music of the Ghosts by Vaddey Ratner

A love story for things lost and restored, a lyrical hymn to the power of forgiveness.

About the book
Join the discussion!

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The Girl Who Smiled Beads
    by Clemantine Wamariya

    A riveting story of dislocation, survival, and the power of stories to break or save us.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win The Leavers

The Leavers by Lisa Ko

One of the most anticipated books of 2017--now in paperback!


Word Play

Solve this clue:

T E H N Clothes

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.