Excerpt from White Blood by James Fleming, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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

White Blood

by James Fleming

White Blood
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Jan 2007, 368 pages
    Paperback:
    Sep 2008, 368 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse Review Team

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


Father’s swarthy epidermis was punctured without malice. He was perhaps recumbent on a divan, perhaps quaking with laughter, but probably moving restlessly in bed in a sticky Central Asian night, so attractively odoured that cheops thought to refresh himself—a beaker of the best. It sank its probe and thereby donated to Father the gift it had had from the rat, its host—the plague bacillus.

Within two days the buboes had formed and before the week was out my lovely father had died a gasping tossing bursting death. We were in London when the news arrived. We had to engage an English lawyer. And Father, who had died swollen with putrefaction, in agony, with his glory stillborn, had his corpse stabbed and stabbed with the dagger of his debts by a pilchard-faced lawyer from Surbiton who at the end treated us to a sermon on thrift. Instead of asking, But did George Doig enjoy his stay among the living? this man did nothing but crab Papa for his “exceedings.” I passed Mother a note during this session: “May he take his seat upon the hot nail of hell,” which was a saying in our family. And when the lawyer took his leave I said smiling to him, Poshol v pizdu, which means “disappear up your cunt.” Gravely he replied, “Such a tragic business.”

This was a hard spell for Mother and myself, but especially for her. Then my great-uncle Igor, the head of the Rykovs, rallied round. The creditors were paid off and Mother was settled amongst artisans in a narrow red-brick house in Fulham, London, until I’d finished my schooling, for which Uncle Igor also footed the bill.

This was at Battle Hall, outside Hastings, on the cliffs looking towards France. Proprietor Capt. W. Slype, wedded to Muriel, who wore a built-up shoe. She dragged this foot, which was out-turned, and so could be heard approaching from a distance. Anyone caught mimicking her was taken off and caned by Slype. It was a brisk and biblical school that saw its purpose in supplying the Empire with irrigation engineers, bureaucrats and quellers of riots.

Mamasha, I wrote, they treat me like a Russian peasant. Why must the English always be so victorious? Let’s go home, let’s go back to Moscow. But she, having weathered the emotional catastrophe of exchanging Moscow for London and then having Papa die, was determined to stick it out. I think this was in the nature of a graveside vow, so to speak. Patience, she counselled. And soon they had to stifle their scorn, these English schoolboys. The heat of my anger drove them back: that Father had died, that we were supported by the charity of relatives, that I was taunted for being a foreigner by a bunch of barbarians. I learned to punch first and punch hard. I carved out my territory with Russian fists and Russian balls. The day I arrived a boy called Morfet had me squeeze his testicles, I suppose to groom me for some sodomitical game. They were like a pair of boiled baby beetroots. I said to him, “Don’t worry, they’ll fill up one day.” Later he became subservient to me. He was always short of cash—whereas I never was since Mother would go without to keep me in pocket money. Sometimes I’d get soaked when out birding on the cliffs. For threepence Morfet would sleep in my wet clothes and have them dry and clean by roll-call. So things got themselves advantageously sorted.

Excerpted from White Blood by James Fleming Copyright © 2007 by James Fleming. Excerpted by permission of Atria Press, a division of Simon and Schuster, 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!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member
and discover your next great read!

Join Today!

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Opposite of Everyone
by Joshilyn Jackson

"Quirky and appealing characters, an engaging story, and honest dialogue make this a great book!"
- BookBrowse

About the book
Join the discussion!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket
    The Never-Open Desert Diner
    by James Anderson
    James Anderson's debut novel, The Never-Open Desert Diner, starts off as an entertaining ...
  • Book Jacket
    In the Country of Men
    by Hisham Matar
    Labeled by some as the "Libyan Kite Runner", In The Country of Men does share some ...
  • Book Jacket: Holding Up the Universe
    Holding Up the Universe
    by Jennifer Niven
    Jennifer Niven's spectacular Holding Up the Universe has everything that I love about Young ...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Victoria
    by Daisy Goodwin

    Daisy Goodwin breathes new life into Victoria's story, and does so with sensitivity, verve, and wit." - Amanda Foreman

    Read Member Reviews

Who Said...

In youth we run into difficulties. In old age difficulties run into us

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Word Play

The Big Holiday Wordplay:
$400+ in Prizes

Enter Now

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.