Excerpt from Home Fires by Gene Wolfe, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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

Home Fires

by Gene Wolfe

Home Fires
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Jan 2011, 304 pages
    Paperback:
    Jan 2012, 304 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Beverly Melven

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt

Later, in the dining car, she said, "You haven't asked me about Chelle. Not one thing. I've been waiting for it, Skip, but it hasn't happened. Want to tell me why?"

He shook his head.

"She divorced me, you're quite correct. She divorced her father, too, after she enlisted. Were you aware of that?"

"No." He studied the menu before touching several items.

"It doesn't mean she doesn't love me, and it certainly doesn't mean I don't love her. If you thought she didn't love me, why did you spend so much to bring me back?"

"I hope she'll like having you again. I wanted to get her something that would delight her, and you were the only gift I could find that seemed to have much chance." He hesitated. "I wanted to get you a separate compartment, a nice one near mine. We were too late with that, the train was full."

"We?"

"Susan. Susan's my secretary. She takes care of things like that for me. I asked if you'd mind sharing a compartment with me. They said they'd tell you that you had to."

"They did. I made no objection."

"Aren't you going to order?"

"I suppose. What's the green button?" The slight smile that twitched her lips made him suspect that she already knew.

"It means that you're ordering what the previous diner at the table ordered. Women - young girls for the most part - often want to do that. I don't know why."

"But you know about them."

"Yes, I do."

"I won't pry, Skip." The smile appeared in earnest. "Not now, because I know I wouldn't find out anything. Later, possibly. Some girls are terrified of ordering anything too costly. I was never one of those, but I knew some like that."

He nodded.

"Others are afraid they'll order something they don't know how to eat. Lobster or pigs' trotters, a dish that takes finesse. If they order what the man orders, he can't object to the price, and they can see how he eats it."

"So you ordered what I ordered, without knowing what it was."

"It seemed simpler like that. Either I'm not hungry at all, or I'm so hungry I'll eat anything. I'll know when the food comes. Wouldn't you think they'd have a waiter to take our order? He could answer our questions then."

Skip nodded absently. "They do that in second class."

It evoked a throaty chuckle. "We privileged few needn't worry about keeping the proles employed. Perhaps that's what's wrong with the system."

"It may be."

"I was a wealthy woman, Skip."

He nodded.

"I've almost nothing now. Just a few noras that a woman gave me before she let me out at the station. I'm going to need more."

"You want more. I anticipated that."

"May I have it?"

"Not now. I have to have some way to control you."

"Surely there are others."

"There are, but I like this one."

She laughed. "You're rather too much fun to cross blades with. I could cut Charles to pieces in two minutes - it was part of the reason I opted out. Would you like to stay in our compartment while I shower and get ready for bed?"

He shook his head.

"No? I was hoping you would. I was going to charge you for it."

"No. I'll wait in the bar car."

A waiter arrived, trailed by an assistant who carried an identical meal. "Questions?" The waiter looked from one to the other. "Additional needs? Monsieur? Madame?"

"I've a thousand," Vanessa told him, "but you can't supply any of them."

*   *   *


As Skip sat in the bar car sipping Chablis-and-soda, the barmaid's assistant's helper muttered, "I wouldn't call you an enthusiastic drinker, sir."

"I'm not," Skip told her. "I'm just waiting for the dead woman in my compartment to go to bed."

Excerpted from Home Fires by Gene Wolfe. Copyright © 2011 by Gene Wolfe. Excerpted by permission of Tor Books. 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:
  About the Author

Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    •  
    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    •  
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    •  
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    •  
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    •  
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    •  
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
    •  

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket
    Stalin's Daughter
    by Rosemary Sullivan
    "There is something fatal about my life. You can't regret your fate, though I do regret my ...
  • Book Jacket: A Certain Age
    A Certain Age
    by Beatriz Williams
    Lovers of high-society gossip, there's a new set of players in town. A good 20 out of 23 of our...
  • Book Jacket: The Romanovs
    The Romanovs
    by Simon Sebag Montefiore
    The Romanovs chronicles the reigns of the 20 individuals who were considered members of that dynasty...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Miss Jane
    by Brad Watson

    "Starred Review. Sensitive, beautifully precise prose. Highly recommended." - PW

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Falling
    by Jane Green

    "Readers who enjoy a love story with heart will adore this tale of homecoming and transformation." - LJ

    Read Member Reviews

Members review books pre-publication. Read their opinions in First Impressions

Book Discussions
Book Jacket
Girl Waits with Gun
by Amy Stewart

An enthralling novel based on the forgotten true adventures of one of the nation's first female deputy sheriffs.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Summer Stunner
Summer Giveaway

Win 5 books, each week in July!

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

W M T N, W C F All

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.

 
X

BookBrowse Summer Giveaway

We're giving away
5 books every
week in July!