Excerpt from What Becomes by A.L. Kennedy, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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

What Becomes

Stories

by A.L. Kennedy

What Becomes by A.L. Kennedy
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Apr 2010, 224 pages
    Paperback:
    Apr 2011, 224 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Marnie Colton

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


“I didn’t . . .” and this was when he’d remembered that his finger was really currently giving him grief, extremely painful. He’d felt confused. “I didn’t think you were bringing anyone.”

At which point she’d lifted up a small pot of thyme he kept growing near the sink and had thrown it towards his head and he’d bobbed down out of the way so it had broken against a wall behind him and then hit the tiles and broken again. Peat and brownish ceramic fragments were distributed more widely than you might think and the plant lay near his feet, roots showing from a knot of earth as if it were signalling distress. Thyme was quite hardy, though, he thought it would weather the upset and come through fine in the end.

“It’s all right. I’ll get it.” Frank wondering whether the pan and brush was in the storm porch or the cupboard underneath the stairs. “It’ll be fine.” He couldn’t think where he’d seen them last.

“It’s not all right. It won’t be fine.” And she walked towards him, sometimes treading on his track, her shoes taking his bloodstains, repeating them until she stopped where she was close enough to reach up with her hand and brush his forehead, his left cheek, his lips. This meant his blood was on her fingers, Frank softly aware of this while she met his eyes, kept them in the way she used to when he’d just arrived back from a trip, a job—this was how she’d peered in at him then, seemed to be checking his mind, making sure he was still the man he’d been before.

After the look she’d slapped him. Fast. Both sides of his jaw. “It’s not all right.” Leaving and going upstairs. He didn’t follow because he was distracted and he shook his head and ran his tongue along against his teeth and felt he might have to accept that he no longer was the man he’d been before.

Not that he’d been anybody special.

And this evening he was apparently even less: the sort of man who’d sit in a cinema but never be shown a film.

The projection box had quietened, the rattling stilled. There had been a few ill-defined thumps a while ago and then silence and the sensation of being watched. Frank was quite sure the projectionist had decided not to bother with the movie and was waiting for Frank to give up and go away.

But that wouldn’t happen. Frank was going to get what he wanted and had paid for. Overhead, deep mumbles of amplified sound were leeching through the ceiling, so the other feature had begun. Still, he suspected that no one was watching upstairs, either—he’d not heard a soul in the foyer.

Half an hour, though—if the comedy had started, that meant he’d been stuck here for half an hour.

He removed his hat and then settled it back on again.

Being left for half an hour was disrespectful, irritating. Any longer and he would be justified in growing angry and then making his displeasure felt.

He coughed. He kicked one foot up onto the back of the chair in front, followed it with the other, crossed his legs at the ankle. He burrowed his shoulders deeper into the back of the seat. This was intended to suggest that he was fixed, in no hurry, willing to give matters all the time they’d take. The next step would involve conflict, tempers, variables it was difficult and unpleasant to predict.

Excerpted from What Becomes by A. L. Kennedy Copyright © 2010 by A. L. Kennedy. Excerpted by permission of Knopf, a division of Random House, 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!

Beyond the Book:
  Flotation Tanks

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket
    My Name Is Leon
    by Kit De Waal
    Kit de Waal's striking debut, My Name is Leon, has inspired this big, long, complicated question: ...
  • Book Jacket: New People
    New People
    by Danzy Senna
    Danzy Senna has spent virtually her entire writing career exploring the complicated intersections of...
  • Book Jacket: Hunger
    Hunger
    by Roxane Gay
    In this penetrating and fearless memoir, author Roxane Gay discusses her battle with body acceptance...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
Little Nothing by Marisa Silver

A stunning, provocative new novel from New York Times bestselling author Marisa Silver

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Happiness
    by Heather Harpham

    A love story that follows a one-of-a-kind family through twists of fate that require nearly unimaginable choices.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win The Resurrection of Joan Ashby

The Resurrection of Joan Ashby by Cherise Wolas

Epic, propulsive, incredibly ambitious, and dazzlingly written--a story about sacrifice and motherhood.

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

I's A D Before D

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.