Excerpt from The Lion in the Lei Shop by Kaye Starbird, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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

The Lion in the Lei Shop

by Kaye Starbird

The Lion in the Lei Shop
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Jun 2013, 276 pages
    Paperback:
    May 2013, 292 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse First Impression Reviewers

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


"I like it," I said, "and I like our new house. So does Jill."

"I'm glad." She bent and kissed me. "Try to go back to sleep now."

So I went back to sleep, and I wore my purple jumper to school the next day, and we never discussed my father again until a number of years had gone by.

My mother loved me, but she couldn't help me. I had to sort out the past and present and future, I had to sort out my relationship with my father, in my own time, in my own way.

I seldom dream about the war anymore; but when I was a child I used to dream about it at least once or twice a year. The dreams varied at first, then became distilled into one recurring nightmare, in which I was standing with my mother on the deck of a ship, a railed and rocking platform that seemed higher than smokestacks, higher than planes or birds, yet still on a level with the flat and blue and endless ocean. I was dressed in a yellow pinafore with white forget-me-nots embroidered on the hem of the skirt, and I was crying. Far below the deck, at the bottom of some steps that slanted downward and outward from where I was standing, a man was smiling up at me, and I knew he was my father—the way you do in dreams—although I couldn't see his face. My mother was waving and calling, and Aunt Liz and all the rest of the women were waving and calling, too, crowded together in a thicket at the rail, where the other children and I were as dwarfed among them as lantana under the mango trees, existing hardy but hidden below their branchlike arms, unable to see either over or out. Yet I saw my father and I saw the steps. I kept pulling and pulling at my mother's dress, trying and trying to tell her about the steps, but she wouldn't listen. She just stood there, smaller and prettier than most of the women but equally tired-looking, with her copper hair falling straight to her shoulders and shining in the sunlight, while she called and called and waved and waved and didn't notice what I said at all. She didn't notice the steps moving away.

Then the dream changed, and I found myself running, running, running, toward a blue emptiness that might have been ocean and might have been sky. As I ran, the deck swayed under me, and I stopped and reached for the handrail. But, when I tried to steady myself, the rail turned into a strand of barbed wire, and I clamped my lips together so I wouldn't scream. Because I knew where I was. Even before I looked, I knew where I was. I was outside the little locked house where the lion lived.

"No, no!" I cried in the dream. "No-no-no-no-no!" And often I was still crying the word aloud when I woke up sobbing.

It's hard to know what you remember from early childhood and what you only think you remember. I suppose if you stay in the same place doing the same things day after day and year after year, the world and its happenings are apt to run together into one fading unaccented panorama…with maybe a day when a picnic was called off because of rain or a moment when you were sitting under a tree in a striped sweater watching a spotted dog run by remaining forever in your mind for no accountable reason. But even if you don't stay in the same place doing the same things day after day and year after year, the details tend to shift around and get blurred. I was five years old the morning the Japanese planes roared improbably out of nowhere into the safe everyday skies over our rooftop in Hawaii, with the goggled, helmeted men sitting in the cockpits and the round red suns painted on the backs of the planes. And as the months and decades passed, I heard that morning (and the mornings and afternoons and nights that followed) described so often and variously that it was easy to confuse the legend with the reality and my own memories with the memories of others. And, of course, there were some things I remembered for a long time that never happened, that never were true. Like the lion living in the lei shop.

Excerpted from The Lion in the Lei Shop by Kaye Starbird. Copyright © 2013 by Kaye Starbird. Excerpted by permission of Amazon 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!

One Month Free Membership

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Hot Milk
    Hot Milk
    by Deborah Levy
    When people reach their early 20s, they often choose to go abroad – they want to get away from...
  • Book Jacket: Ninety-Nine Stories of God
    Ninety-Nine Stories of God
    by Joy Williams
    I have to preface this review by saying that I am not a fan of religious fiction - not even books ...
  • Book Jacket: The Book That Matters Most
    The Book That Matters Most
    by Ann Hood
    BookBrowse First Impression reviewers appreciated the innovative structure of The Book That Matters ...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Book That Matters Most
    by Ann Hood

    An enthralling novel about love, loss, secrets and friendship.

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Underground Airlines
    by Ben Winters

    "The Invisible Man meets Blade Runner in this outstanding alternate history thriller." - PW Star

    Read Member Reviews

Book Discussions
Book Jacket
Circling the Sun
by Paula McLain

An intoxicatingly vivid portrait of colonial Kenya and its privileged inhabitants.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Win this book!
Win Lady Cop Makes Trouble

The Kopp Sisters Return!

One of the nation's first female deputy sheriffs returns in another gripping adventure based on fact.

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

Manners M (T) M

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

Free Weekly Newsletter

Keep up with what's happening in the world of books:
Reviews, previews, interviews and more!



Spam Free: Your email is never shared with anyone; opt out any time.