Excerpt from Random Acts of Heroic Love by Danny Scheinmann, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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

Random Acts of Heroic Love

by Danny Scheinmann

Random Acts of Heroic Love by Danny Scheinmann
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • Published:
    Jan 2009, 400 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Vy Armour

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


'Go away, clear off. This is not a freak show. Leave me alone . . .' And even as he speaks Leo's voice cracks and fades away. They have seen enough, they are ashamed and someone closes the door.

The episode triggers a thought in his clouded mind. Why do I recognize those people? He turns to the doctor.

'What is the date?'

'It is the second of April, señor.'

'The second of April?' He searches desperately inside for a connection.

'Where am I?'

'Latacunga, señor.'

Latacunga – he knows the name. Yes, now he remembers that he has been through Latacunga before. There is a busy market in the town square. He changed buses there with Eleni to go into the mountains. He is in Ecuador.

'What date is it?'He forgets that he has just asked this question.

'It is the second of April.'

'The second of April? What happened?'

'You were in a bus crash, señor.'

Nowhere in his memory can he place this information. It does not even create the slightest ripple across his psyche. He sits with the idea for a moment. No, he does not remember a bus or a crash. The thought hangs outside him like an alien trying to gain entry. His brain refuses to connect this information to any synapse or nerve ending. And yet somewhere lost in the internal wreckage sits the little black box, the flight recorder which carries the truth of what happened. A strange protective mechanism has kicked in which prevents him getting too close to the epicentre of his trauma. Like a witness in a court case who is not obliged to give evidence which could implicate him, so the body refuses the mind access to the information which could damage it.

'What date is it?' He wonders if he has asked this question before.

'The second of April, señor,' the doctor repeats patiently.

'What year?'

'1992.'

Leo grapples with the year. He set off in 1991. When in 1991? The end, near the end. December 1991. So what happened over the last four months? A small light switches on and he sees himself lying on a beach with Eleni. It is New Year's Eve; they have taken a day trip from Cartagena in Colombia to a tropical island. Eleni is wearing her pink swimsuit. They lie there in sunbleached bliss with the surf at their feet. He turns to her and kisses her warm cheek.

'You know, I can't think of anything in the whole universe that I want. I've got you at my side and I love you and that's it. There's nothing more to life than this.'

Eleni smiles, leans over and kisses him. 'Let's photograph it,' she says. She takes out their small instant camera and holds it at arm's length above their heads and points it towards them. They check their positions in the reflection on the lens and take the picture. Click.

He looks down at her corpse. The memory acts like a pair of hands that plough through his breastbone, rip open his ribcage and expose his heart to the elements. His spine melts away and he stands before his dead lover like a piece of limp flesh. He cannot breathe. His only thought now is that he wants to die and go with her.

From nowhere he feels a shooting cramp through his leg. He looks down and notices his jeans are ripped and covered in blood. Next he feels a throb in his hands. They are cut and bleeding. Shards of glass stick out from the skin. For a moment he becomes quite self-absorbed picking out the splinters.

His right shoulder is badly bruised and his hip joint fires sharp warning shots up his back.He realizes that he has suffered injuries all down his right side. But worst of all is his right knee.He cannot bend it or even feel it. How could he not notice the pain until now?

What is the date? he wonders. He is too embarrassed to ask again. The door opens. The crowd has disappeared. A policeman enters and asks Leo to accompany him to the bus station to identify his bags. Leo is reluctant to leave Eleni's side but he is strangely open to suggestion. There is no fight left in him and he obediently follows the policeman out of the room. The doctor follows and Eleni is left in peace.

From Random Acts of Heroic Love. Copyright Danny Scheinmann 2008. All rights reserved. Reproduced by permission of the pubilsher, St Martins.

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 books that entertain, engage & enlighten!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Hillbilly Elegy
    Hillbilly Elegy
    by J.D. Vance
    In this illuminating memoir, Vance recounts his trajectory from growing up a "hillbilly" in ...
  • Book Jacket: The Dark Flood Rises
    The Dark Flood Rises
    by Margaret Drabble
    Margaret Drabble, the award-winning novelist and literary critic who is approaching eighty and ...
  • Book Jacket: All Our Wrong Todays
    All Our Wrong Todays
    by Elan Mastai
    You need a great deal of time to read All Our Wrong Todays, but don't let that put you off. ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Atomic Weight of Love
by Elizabeth J. Church

In the spirit of The Aviator's Wife, this resonant debut spans from World War II through the Vietnam War.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Mercies in Disguise
    by Gina Kolata

    A story of hope, a family's genetic destiny, and the science that rescued them.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Our Short History
    by Lauren Grodstein

    Lauren Grodstein breaks your heart, then miraculously pieces it back together so it's stronger, than before.
    Reader Reviews

Who Said...

Harvard is the storehouse of knowledge because the freshmen bring so much in and the graduates take so little out.

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

Word Play

Solve this clue:

O My D B

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.

 
Modal popup -