The binding is a scarf that belongs to her mother. It has a pattern Esme likes: repeating swirls in purple, red and blue. Paisley, her mother says it is called, which Esme knows is a place in Scotland.
The room is full. Kitty is there, her mother, her father and some guests-several couples, a girl with scandalously short hair, whom her mother has placed opposite a young engineer, an elderly woman and her son, and a lone man, seated next to Esme's father. Esme thinks, but she's not entirely sure, that they are all eating soup. She seems to recall the lift and dip of spoons, the clash of metal on china, the discreet suck and swallow.
Excerpted from THE VANISHING ACT OF ESME LENNOX © 2006 by Maggie OFarrell. Reprinted by permission of Harcourt, Inc.
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No Man's Land
by Simon Tolkien
Inspired by the experiences of his grandfather, J. R. R. Tolkien, during World War I.
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