Excerpt from Life by Mal Peet, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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

Life

An Exploded Diagram

by Mal Peet

Life by Mal Peet X
Life by Mal Peet
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Oct 2011, 416 pages
    Paperback:
    Feb 2013, 400 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Norah Piehl

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


Then, in May 1943, the boy had been killed. Metz, frozen at the controls of his own plane, with his flight engineer screaming in his headphones, had watched it happen. Had watched the two British Hurricanes following his darling's smoking machine down like frenzied sharks following a blood leak, triangulating the bullets in as if there were an infinity of bullets. Had watched the boy's plane do a halfcartwheel into the sea and simply cease to exist. Joy and love gone, bang, just like that, swallowed into the crinkled grey texture of the English sea. The Hurricanes were from RAF Beckford; Metz intended to end his war with a vengeance. Flying solo, he had no way of defending himself from the Spitfires. Flying at so ridiculously low a height, he had very limited options for evasive action. So he stuck grimly to his course, watching the Norfolk landscape race towards and under him while his plane took an absurd number of hits and disintegrated around him. Just before he overflew a hamlet called Bratton Morley (did he glimpse a bulbous woman lifting her shocked face and falling over?) his starboard engine caught fire.

Metz didn't make it to Beckford, although he got close. Two miles from the airbase he plunged, burning, into a sizeable tract of forest known locally as Abbot's Wood. He had almost certainly died by the time the ancient and heavy English trees ripped the wings from his fuselage. Jolting in the smoking cockpit, he tobogganed through the wood and plunged into a stretch of water called Perch Lake.

The woods were wet and sullen after the long winter. It didn't take long for the crews from Beckford and Borstead to hose and beat the smouldering out. They hadn't the equipment to lift the remains of the plane from the lake, so Metz was left sitting next to the shattered photograph of his lover under fifteen feet of silty water. Four months later a courting couple were put off their stroke when his black and gassy body parts bobbed to the surface.

Excerpted from Life by Mal Peet. Copyright © 2011 by Mal Peet. Excerpted by permission of Candlewick Press. 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:
  The Cuban Missile Crisis

Support BookBrowse

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

Join Today!

Award Winners

  • Book Jacket: Little Fires Everywhere
    Little Fires Everywhere
    by Celeste Ng
    Voted 2017 Best Fiction by BookBrowse's Subscribers

    Small towns, big drama. Acclaimed author ...
  • Book Jacket: La Belle Sauvage
    La Belle Sauvage
    by Philip Pullman
    Voted 2017 Best Young Adult Novel by BookBrowse's Subscribers

    I wasn't quite sure what to expect ...
  • Book Jacket: Killers of the Flower Moon
    Killers of the Flower Moon
    by David Grann
    Voted 2017 Best Nonfiction by BookBrowse's Subscribers

    The long, sorrowful list of injustices done ...
  • Book Jacket: The Dry
    The Dry
    by Jane Harper
    Voted 2017 Best Debut Novel by BookBrowse's Subscribers

    After receiving a letter from his childhood...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
History of Wolves by Emily Fridlund

"Electrifying . . . as beautiful and as icy as the Minnesota woods where it's set."
—NPR

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Wonder Valley
    by Ivy Pochoda

    A visionary and masterful portrait of contemporary L.A. from the author of Visitation Street.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win Autumn

Autumn by Ali Smith

One of the New York Times 10 Best Books of the Year, and a Man Booker Prize Finalist

Enter

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.