Excerpt from Shadow and Light by Jonathan Rabb, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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

Shadow and Light

A Novel

by Jonathan Rabb

Shadow and Light by Jonathan Rabb
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Mar 2009, 384 pages
    Paperback:
    Mar 2010, 384 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Joanne Collings

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


" 'Twenty-two Opel?" The man spoke with an easy authority.

"They'll give you a bit of trouble on a road like this."

Hoffner nodded, although he couldn't remember whether the car was a '21 or a '22. "I thought I'd caught something underneath," he said. "Didn't see anything."

"High frame," said the man. "Not meant for these speeds."

"You know your cars, then?"

"I take an interest. So nothing up in the housing?"

Hoffner motioned to the car. "You're welcome to take a look."

The man stepped over, released the catch on the metal bonnet, and raised it. "You keep it well." He leaned in and jiggled a few bits and pieces.

"Yes," said Hoffner, never having once opened the thing up himself. He noticed the baby boar still watching them. "Cigarette?"

The man stood upright and refastened the bonnet. "Very kind."

"I'm the one who should be thanking you."

"For what? Your car is in perfect order." They both lit up and leaned back against the bonnet. "Unless it's for the company?" Hoffner held out the flask. "No," said the man. "I'm not much good with that."

Hoffner nodded over to the truck. "You've an interesting load."

"Toilet-washing liquid," said the man. "Very glamorous. I'm heading out to the studios. Same as you." It was an obvious point: Who else would be taking this road? "I shouldn't, of course. Slows everyone down, but then, why not? I choose my times well enough. Eleven on a Monday. Very little traffic either way. If you'd really been unlucky, you'd have been here for quite some time."

"Depends on what you mean by luck."

The man smiled absently. "Fair enough."

"And here I thought the studios would have had—"

"A bigger outfit running their toilet-washing-liquid interests?" The man had evidently run through this before. There was an odd charm to it all. "Of course, but then I'm an inside man. I was owed. Favors and so forth. Highly confidential stuff."

"The intricate world of toilet-liquid syndicates."

"Exactly." The man nodded over at the boars. "They'll make someone a nice bit of eating."

"That would be a shame."

"You don't like eating?"

Hoffner took a pull on his cigarette. "So how does one become an ‘inside man'?"

"The usual course. A producer, director—I don't remember which— one of them had an eye for my daughter. Got me the contract. On a limited basis, of course. One man, one truck. Enough liquid for the small buildings. More if she spread her legs."

"Imagine if she marries him?"

"I don't. She ran off to Darmstadt with a butcher's apprentice two years ago. I think the studio felt sorry. Old widower abandoned by his only daughter."

"That's a bit rough."

"Not really. They let me keep the contract. Don't know why. I never liked her much. She's probably fat now. Fat like that big one there. With a child. A fat little boy. He probably beats her. The butcher, not the child."

Here it was, thought Hoffner. The man had lived through the Kaiser, the war, unemployment, a daughter, and none of it mattered, not so much at its heart as in its passing. Berlin's saving grace had always been her incessant movement forward. Only a real Berliner understood that.

Excerpted from Shadow and Light by Jonathan Rabb. Copyright © 2009 by Jonathan Rabb. Excerpted by permission of Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 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!

One-Month Free Membership

Discover your next great read here

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket
    Ghachar Ghochar
    by Vivek Shanbhag
    The Bengaluru (aka Bangalore) that has dominated economic news headlines over the past decade is the...
  • Book Jacket: Caught in the Revolution
    Caught in the Revolution
    by Helen Rappaport
    So taken were BookBrowse's First Impression reviewers by the inside look at the start of the Russian...
  • 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 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

    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

  • 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

Who Said...

I am what the librarians have made me with a little assistance from a professor of Greek and a few poets

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 -