MLA Platinum Award Press Release

Excerpt from Rain Village by Carolyn Turgeon, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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

Rain Village

by Carolyn Turgeon

Rain Village by Carolyn Turgeon X
Rain Village by Carolyn Turgeon
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • Published:
    Oct 2006, 320 pages

    Genres

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse Review Team
Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


When Riley Farm appeared ahead of me, I squashed the dirt in my hands, steeling myself, preparing for anything. I crept across the front lawn, deafened by the sounds of the crickets and cicadas, and pushed through the front door as quietly as possible. The house felt so stark and prim against the lush night. I felt a knot form in my throat and stay there. I stood for a moment in the dark, empty hallway, barely breathing, then heard the clattering of silverware coming from the kitchen. I stood for a few minutes longer, suspended between two worlds, before I tiptoed into the kitchen, to the round oak table we all crowded around.

My father and brothers shoveled bread and stew into their mouths, not even looking up. I took my seat next to my sister, and my mother handed me a bowl without saying a word.

“Where have you been, child?” my father asked.

I froze. “I’m sorry, sir,” I said, staring into my stew. “I was doing my stretches outside.”

I felt his eyes on me and winced.

Tessa, I thought, squeezing my eyes shut and focusing on the dirt, the shapes, the sounds pulsing from Mary’s tongue. Ta.

“Eat your stew,” he said, in a voice so tight I thought it might whip out and lash me. Later, I knew, he would make up for whatever he was holding back now.







Chapter Two

I came from a long line of farmers whose lives were controlled by seasons and whose skin was hard against the wind. My family had been on that Kansas land longer than anyone could remember, and our name was Riley, a name marked on our front gate and on the windowsills, we were so proud of it. The Rileys were a strong clan, my mother always told us. We came from the earth and our arms hung heavy at our sides.

When I was born the midwife lifted me into the air and screamed; she thought my mother had birthed some kind of rodent, I was so small. Once they’d finally cleaned me off enough to see that I was a normal baby—though I was about a third of the size of the usual kind—my mother decided not to call me Geraldine after her sister, as she’d planned to do. “Geraldine is no name for a munchkin,” she said. “Geraldine is a name that’d stretch two city blocks.” So my mother plucked a name out of the sky and called me Tessa, and I got a Geraldine for a sister two years later—a baby sister as big as a tree stump.

I don’t think it’s any stretch to say that my mother hated having such a strange creature emerge from her body, but she tried her hardest to challenge fate and whatever devil had played such a trick on her. She taught me to do backbends and headstands and cartwheels, and made me do stretches every day in the kitchen window, but while Geraldine grew and grew till her head bumped the ceilings of the shops in town, I remained what I was: a terrible mistake. Please, I whispered into air every night, holding the word on my tongue like sugar, but when I got to four feet, time stopped for me and the world went on and left me behind.

Probably my mother tried loving me as long as she did out of disappointment, pure and simple. Geraldine, despite her gift for growing, was an ill-tempered, dumb child at best, one who snorted and cried when she didn’t get enough to eat, and my brothers were not good for much besides hauling in our crops and trampling down everyone else’s. Of course, when it came down to it, my siblings were far better children than I and kept that farm running and food on our plates, but I think my mother could have used someone to talk to sometimes, someone with a bit of soul in them. I guess it’s an easy thing for me to say now, when seeing my mother again is about as likely for me as sprouting fins, but I think my mother could have found a friend in me back then if I hadn’t shamed her so much. Some things aren’t ever meant to be, I guess. All I know is that it’s a terrible thing to be born someone’s failure in this world.

Excerpted from Rain Village by Carolyn Turgeon. Copyright © 2006 by Carolyn Turgeon. Excerpted by permission of Unbridled Books. 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" articles
  • 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 $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten.

Join Now!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Pew
    Pew
    by Catherine Lacey
    A quote often attributed to Leo Tolstoy states that "All great literature is one of two stories; a ...
  • Book Jacket: Waiting for an Echo
    Waiting for an Echo
    by Christine Montross
    Dr. Christine Montross had been a practicing psychiatrist for nearly a decade when she decided to ...
  • Book Jacket
    The Flight Portfolio
    by Julie Orringer
    At once a sweeping historical narrative, an insightful character study and a tender romance, Julie ...
  • Book Jacket: The Color of Air
    The Color of Air
    by Gail Tsukiyama
    Daniel was raised in Hilo, Hawaii by Japanese immigrant parents. Having traveled to the U.S. ...

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    With or Without You
    by Caroline Leavitt

    A moving novel about twists of fate, the shifting terrain of love, and coming into your own.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Hieroglyphics
    by Jill McCorkle

    A mesmerizing novel about piecing together the hieroglyphics of history and memory.
    Reader Reviews

Book Club Discussion
Book Jacket
Every Bone a Prayer
by Ashley Blooms

The the story of one tough-as-nails girl whose choices are few but whose fight is boundless.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Win this book!
Win Every Bone a Prayer

Every Bone a Prayer by Ashley Blooms

A beautifully honest exploration of healing and of hope.

Enter

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

T Real 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 the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.