Excerpt from Anthill by Edward O. Wilson, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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

Anthill

A Novel

by Edward O. Wilson

Anthill
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Apr 2010, 378 pages
    Paperback:
    Apr 2011, 384 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Elizabeth Whitmore Funk

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


“I heard Frogman’s a pervert,” Raff came back. “He does things to little boys, you know.”

“Like doing what?”

“You know, does weird things to them.”

“Jesus, Raff, you really stink.” Sixteen-year-old Junior, Raff’s senior by a full year, decided to take a more mature approach to his cousin. He put on an indignant expression and shook his head slowly, as though surprised at such ignorance. “Maybe you heard somethin’ like that somewhere, but if that was true, don’t you think he’d be sittin’ up there in Monroeville Prison right now?”

Raff kept silent, and Junior went on. “Don’t be a yellowbelly. We’ll take off first thing in the morning, get to the river through the Johnson Farm. I know where we can borrow a boat on the floodbank down there. Then we’ll float on downstream a few miles, and pull over at the Potomo Landing. Be home by supper, no sweat.”

“My parents would kill me if they found out. They already think you’re going to get me into trouble. They don’t like me to go out with you anywhere.”

“Tell ’em that you and I goin’ to spend a day at Lake Nokobee. Say we’re goin’ to go fish for bream. They won’t give it a second thought.”

two days later Junior picked Raff up at eight in the morning. The two boys, after giving earnest assurances and promises to Raff’s mother, rode their bikes northeast out of Clayville on Alabama 128 and onto a small county spur. There was almost no traffic; only two vehicles passed them going the other way, both loaded with croaker sacks of green tomatoes. The boys arrived at a forest-lined stream on the edge of the Johnson Farm, then hid their bicycles behind a dense clump of shrubs and weeds just off the road overpass. They climbed down to the edge of the stream, took off their shoes, rolled their pants up to their knees, and waded into the clear, smooth-running water. They enjoyed the feel of the sand between their toes and the scattered smooth pebbles of the bottom against the soles of their feet.

As they headed downstream, in the direction of the Chicobee, they saw small fish dart for protection into clumps of eelgrass and the hollows of the overhanging bank. A mud turtle, green-streaked with algae, remained still on the bottom as they walked past. A ribbon snake dropped into the water from an overhanging branch and swam swiftly out of sight. A red-shouldered hawk took off from overhead, screeching loudly. They looked up and spotted its nest, almost hidden from sight in the canopy.

“It’s past the nesting season,” Raff said.

Farther down, the water quieted and deepened into a pool to above their knees. The boys climbed up onto the bank, put their shoes back on, and walked along the overgrown trace of a trail. Whenever the trail petered out, they pushed their way through the thick understory along the watercourse as best they could.

After a mile or so the stream broadened and grew shallow again. It was partly diverted to one side by a thicket of cattails surrounding a small pond. The woods changed into widely spaced water oak, cypress, and trees of other kinds that dominate the coastal floodplain forest. The boys walked on carefully, heading diagonally away from the increasingly muddy bottom of the stream.

“Watch out for quicksand,” Junior warned.

Raff fell in behind him, thinking that if they stumbled into something of the sort, Junior would be the first to sink. They proceeded in tandem like that, pressing on toward the river, hopping over little pools and easing their way around slick muckbeds.

Finally the Chicobee itself came into sight. The river’s surface shimmered a silvery blue-green in the midmorning sunlight. As far as they could see up and down, it was walled in by the tops of floodplain tree canopies that rolled down like green waves to touch its surface.

Reprinted from Anthill: A Novel by E. O. Wilson Copyright © 2010 by Edward O. Wilson. Used with permission of the publisher, W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.

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:
  E. O. Wilson, the Scientist

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member
and discover your next great read!

Join Today!

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Opposite of Everyone
by Joshilyn Jackson

"Quirky and appealing characters, an engaging story, and honest dialogue make this a great book!"
- BookBrowse

About the book
Join the discussion!

Award Winners

  • Book Jacket: A Great Reckoning
    A Great Reckoning
    by Louise Penny
    Canadian author Louise Penny is back with her twelfth entry in the Chief Inspector Armand Gamache ...
  • Book Jacket: Homegoing
    Homegoing
    by Yaa Gyasi
    It's all very well to challenge people to be the masters of their own destiny, but when you&#...
  • Book Jacket: When Breath Becomes Air
    When Breath Becomes Air
    by Paul Kalanithi
    When Breath Becomes Air is the autobiography of Paul Kalanithi, written in the time period between ...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Victoria
    by Daisy Goodwin

    Daisy Goodwin breathes new life into Victoria's story, and does so with sensitivity, verve, and wit." - Amanda Foreman

    Read Member Reviews

Who Said...

A classic is a book that has never finished saying what it has to say

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

Word Play

The Big Holiday Wordplay:
$400+ in Prizes

Enter Now

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.