Excerpt from The Sandcastle Girls by Chris Bohjalian, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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

The Sandcastle Girls

A Novel

by Chris Bohjalian

The Sandcastle Girls by Chris Bohjalian
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Jul 2012, 320 pages
    Paperback:
    Apr 2013, 320 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Kim Kovacs

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


“A little. Very little, actually. I know mostly vocabulary. I know words, not grammar.” Then Elizabeth asks the woman, “How did you learn English?”

“My husband went to college in London. He was a doctor.”

Elizabeth thinks about this, imagining this wraith of a woman living in England. As if Nevart can read her mind, the deportee continues, “I wasn’t with him most of the time. I have been to London, but only for a visit.” She sighs and looks into Elizabeth’s eyes. “I’m not going to die,” she murmurs, and she almost sounds disappointed.

“No, of course, you won’t. I know that.” Elizabeth hopes she sounds reassuring. She honestly isn’t sure whether this woman will live.

“You’re just saying that. But I know it because I was a doctor’s wife. I have survived dysentery. Starvation. Dehydration. They?.?.?.?never mind what they did to me. I am still alive.”

“Is that your little girl?” Elizabeth asks.

The woman shakes her head. “No,” she answers, gently massaging the child’s neck. “This is Hatoun. Like me, she is unkillable.”

Elizabeth wants to ask about the woman’s husband, but she doesn’t dare. The man is almost certainly dead. Likewise, she wonders if Nevart has lost her children as well, but again she knows no good can come from this inquiry. Wouldn’t the Armenian have said something about her own children if they were with her now--if they were alive?

Over the woman’s shoulder Elizabeth spies her father in the distance. He is ladling out the soup from a black cauldron and handing it to the women strong enough to stand and bring it to those who are collapsed under the tent. His sideburns and his beard, so much thicker and grayer than the thin whorls of cinnamon atop his scalp, look almost white in this light. They are expecting flour and sugar and tea in the next day or so--the first of two shipments they have arranged this month--though Ryan has warned her father and her that it is likely only a small fraction of what they have acquired will actually arrive in Aleppo.

“Where do we go next?” Nevart asks her. “They brought us here, but they won’t let us stay.”

Excerpted from The Sandcastle Girls by Chris Bohjalian. Copyright © 2012 by Chris Bohjalian. Excerpted by permission of Doubleday, 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!

Support BookBrowse

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

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: The Dark Flood Rises
    The Dark Flood Rises
    by Margaret Drabble
    Margaret Drabble, the award-winning novelist and literary critic who is approaching eighty and ...
  • Book Jacket: All Our Wrong Todays
    All Our Wrong Todays
    by Elan Mastai
    You need a great deal of time to read All Our Wrong Todays, but don't let that put you off. ...
  • Book Jacket: Dadland
    Dadland
    by Keggie Carew
    In her notable debut, Keggie Carew examines the life of her father Tom, a decorated war hero whose ...

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

    Lola
    by Melissa Scrivner Love

    An astonishing debut crime thriller about an unforgettable woman.
    Reader Reviews

Who Said...

When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign...

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 -