Excerpt from This Is How It Ends by Kathleen MacMahon, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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

This Is How It Ends

A Novel

by Kathleen MacMahon

This Is How It Ends by Kathleen MacMahon X
This Is How It Ends by Kathleen MacMahon
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • Published:
    Aug 2012, 352 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Norah Piehl

About this Book

Print Excerpt


He’ll be sitting in the downstairs window. She can’t see him from here, but she knows he’s there. She knows he can see her. He’s watching out for her. It makes her reluctant to go back in.

She takes her iPod out of her pocket and scrolls down through the menu. It takes her a moment to find what she’s looking for. She selects the track and slides the lock over to stop it from slipping before she puts it back in her pocket. Then she pushes her shoulders back and raises her face to the wind as she waits for it to start.

A piece of music for a soprano, and Addie’s voice is anything but. That doesn’t stop her from joining in. She sings along heartily, imagining herself to be in perfect harmony:

“I know that my redeemer liveth . . .”

She doesn’t know all the words but it doesn’t matter. It feels so good to sing. There’s a lot of repetition of the bits she knows. “I know that my redeemer liveth . . .”

She throws her head back and closes her eyes as she sings. There’s no one around to hear her, and anyway, she wouldn’t care if there was. The dog pays no heed to the singing. She’s well used to it. Addie’s striding back towards the shore now, the little dog whirling around her feet as she goes. Behind her, the sky is black and angry, the rain only moments away. The line of the horizon is interrupted by an awkward cargo ship. It’s just sitting there, blocking the view. The chimneys are still pouring smoke out into the air, the smoke pale against the darkness of the sky. The aircraft warning lights are blinking intermittently.

Out beyond Howth Head, another plane comes down out of the clouds and begins the gentle slide towards Dublin Airport.


COMING THROUGH passport control, Bruno suddenly felt too old for all this.

So long since he’d done any traveling, he’d forgotten how physical it was. The rubbery legs, the parched throat. The creaking bowels.

“Reason for your visit?”

“Political refugee,” said Bruno in a moment of madness. The guy looked up at him with raised eyebrows. Surely he wasn’t old enough to be a policeman, he only looked about twelve. He had bright orange hair, hair the color of a carrot. So that wasn’t just a stereotype.

Bruno came to his senses.

“I’m only kidding,” he said. He tried to summon up some charm, leaning in towards the booth in a conspiratorial fashion. Aware now of the line forming behind him.

“I was stretching a point,” he said. “I’m actually here on vacation. Until after the election. Look, November fifth.” He held up the printout of his ticket, but the guy didn’t even bother to look at it. He was scrutinizing Bruno’s face.

“Fair enough,” he said.

He raised his stamp and brought it down with a little thump on the page. Closing the passport, he handed it back to Bruno. Slowly, as if he had all day.

“Tell you what,” he said. “If that crowd are still in charge after the election, come back to me, and we’ll give you asylum all right.”

Bruno wasn’t sure if he’d heard him right.

“No offense, now,” the young policeman added, worried all of a sudden that he’d gone too far.

“No offense taken.”

And Bruno was tempted to say something else but he didn’t.

He slipped the passport into the pocket of his jacket, picked up his carry-on bag, and moved off.

He was still smiling to himself as he waited at the baggage carousel. Fancy that, he thought. Back home, joke with an immigration official and they start taking out the rubber gloves.

But it got him to thinking. By the time he’d spotted his bag snaking towards him, he’d made a pact with himself.

Excerpted from This Is How It Ends by Kathleen MacMahon. Copyright © 2012 by Kathleen MacMahon. Excerpted by permission of Grand Central Publishing. 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:
  Obama in Europe

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: The Overstory
    The Overstory
    by Richard Powers
    Many glowing adjectives can be used to describe a novel by Richard Powers: brilliant, moving, ...
  • Book Jacket: American Histories
    American Histories
    by John E. Wideman
    In American Histories, a collection of 21 short stories, John Edgar Wideman draws America's present ...
  • Book Jacket: I Found My Tribe
    I Found My Tribe
    by Ruth Fitzmaurice
    Ruth O'Neill was only 28 when she married film director Simon Fitzmaurice in 2004. Changing her...
  • Book Jacket: The Art of the Wasted Day
    The Art of the Wasted Day
    by Patricia Hampl
    Patricia Hampl wants you to know that daydreaming is not a waste of a day. Nor is spending time ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
Music of the Ghosts by Vaddey Ratner

A love story for things lost and restored, a lyrical hymn to the power of forgiveness.

About the book
Join the discussion!

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The Girl Who Smiled Beads
    by Clemantine Wamariya & Elizabeth Weil

    A riveting story of survival, and the power of stories to save us.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win The Leavers

The Leavers by Lisa Ko

One of the most anticipated books of 2017--now in paperback!

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

T E H N Clothes

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.