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

1

THE MIND AFTER A SHARP BLOW TO THE HEAD IS LIKE A HOUSE after a hurricane: unrecognizable shards, shreds and splinters.

Fragments of memory lie scattered in the wreckage. All the pieces are there, somewhere – but the landscape is so distorted that, stumbling across them, the brain has no idea what they are or where they are from.

'Where is Eleni?'

'Muerta,' says the doctor.

Leo's eyes close, he is oddly calm watching the bomb hurtle towards him. One last look before he is swept away. He searches his mind and does not recognize the view. A thick fog smothers everything; he can just make out a few faintly familiar shapes. Muerta. He already knows she is dead. At the point of asking he had no idea but when he hears the answer it sounds like the confirmation of a memory he can't seem to bring to his mind. Something lurches out of the blur into sharp focus. Eleni. Droplet brown eyes, rich mane of ebony curls, bundle of electric energy, singing.Always singing, like others breathe. For a fleeting moment he feels her brightness and warmth. They were like a single atom, indivisible.

The bomb is almost upon him. The atom is about to be split. The energy to be unleashed, ferocious and uncontrollable.

'Can I see her?'

'No es buena idea.'

'Where is she?'

'Here, in another room.'

A game is being played. The doctor doesn't want the patient to see his dead lover – at least not yet. He is saying, 'Let's pretend she is not really dead. Muerta – it's just a word.' This is a game of damage limitation. Leo plays along. He doesn't know where he is or how he got there. He has no memory of recent events. He knows only that he loves a girl called Eleni and that he must see her at all costs. He senses the panic in the doctor. If he shows any sign of cracking the doctor will keep them apart. So he plays calm.

'Please let me see her.'

The doctor clocks the steely determination in Leo's eyes and seems reassured; maybe the boy can cope after all. He doesn't know the story of these two young foreigners. He doesn't know the strength of their relationship.

'Venga,' he says softly and indicates the door.

It is only then that Leo realizes he is lying on a bed and that he must have been unconscious. His waking words were for Eleni. Something of that delirious soup lingers with him.Why does the doctor speak Spanish? The question hangs in his thoughts like a piece of string whose other end is lost in the haze. He pulls it and a thread emerges from the fog. A memory clings to it. I'm in Latin America. I came here with Eleni. But where? Guatemala? No, we flew to Colombia from there. Colombia then? No. He tugs at the string harder. No, not Colombia. After Colombia came Ecuador. Ecuador, what comes after Ecuador? Where were we going next? He pulls harder, the twine is fraying. Peru. From Ecuador to Peru. How? How did we get to Peru? The string snaps. No memory of getting to Peru. I must be in Ecuador or Peru. Probably Ecuador. I can't remember Peru. He contemplates the broken thread; he has no idea where to find the other end.He is at the edge of a hole whose size is as yet unfathomable. He stares into the void like a senile man who in a moment of lucidity knows that his mind is lost.

He pulls himself to his feet. His head swirls and he puts his hand on the bed to steady himself. He blinks hard and tries to focus on the enamel basin on the wall opposite. One of the taps dribbles annoyingly; it must have been leaking for years because the water has left an ugly brown stain in the sink.Wherever he is, it is in a state of neglect. The paint peels from the walls and thick spiders' webs hang undisturbed in the corners. A solitary gecko surveys the scene from the ceiling. The doctor takes him by the arm and leads him down a corridor.

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!

One-Month Free Membership

Discover your next great read here

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Castle of Water
    Castle of Water
    by Dane Huckelbridge
    When a whopping 24 out of 27 readers give a book 4 or 5 stars, you know you have a winner on your ...
  • Book Jacket: Havana
    Havana
    by Mark Kurlansky
    History with flavor...culture with spice...language with gusto...it would be hard to find a better ...
  • Book Jacket: Temporary People
    Temporary People
    by Deepak Unnikrishnan
    In this powerful and innovative collection of 28 short stories, Deepak Unnikrishnan presents a ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Nest
by Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney

A funny and acutely perceptive debut about four siblings and the fate of their shared inheritance.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    No One Is Coming to Save Us
    by Stephanie Powell Watts

    One of Entertainment Weekly, Nylon and Elle's most anticipated books of 2017.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    If We Were Villains
    by M. L. Rio

    An intelligent and captivating story of the enduring power and passion of words.
    Reader Reviews

Who Said...

If there is anything more dangerous to the life of the mind than having no independent commitment to ideas...

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

Word Play

Solve this clue:

Y S M B, I'll S Y

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 -