Excerpt from What the River Washed Away by Muriel Mharie Macleod, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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

What the River Washed Away

by Muriel Mharie Macleod

What the River Washed Away
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Aug 2013, 288 pages
    Paperback:
    Jul 2013, 288 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Rory L. Aronsky

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt

One

He's a bad man.

I scrub myself clean after he's gone. The water is shivering cold. He says my feet feel soft like a baby's, but blood flows from where I scraped them raw on the slab beneath the pipe.

'Arletta!'

That's Mambo. She can scream. I'm gonna get thwacked for sure. As if I ain't sore enough.

'Arletta, feed them chickens, and feed them good. Arletta, what the hell ya doing? Don't go washing ya hair in the evening time girl, that's how ya get chilled all the time and what do I get? A poorly child!'

Thwack.

'How many times I tell ya girl?'

'All times, Mambo.'

Thwack.

'Well, one of them times it gonna be real fine if you just do as ya told. Go on now. Feed them chickens and then get y'self right on o! to bed. Ya hearing me, Arletta?'

'Okay, Mambo.'

'And come on in here, so I can dry that hair. Come on now.' Mambo's fresh home from wherever she's been and it ain't long before she's taking right o! again. She's wearing her fine dress, o! meeting some new beau I s'pose, now her old one found me and don't want her no more. Times I feel I got a Mambo who don't seem to care for me at all. She don't seem to care what he's doing to her daughter. I tried telling her about the first time he come at me with his doing, but I got me a thwacking and tell't not to be telling lies 'cause of him being white folks, and right high and mighty and all she says.

'He's a man with what they call a profession Arletta, that's a right high and minded kinda job. Ain't no messing, and y'all need a be washing ya mouth out. Go on! And I'm gonna rub that block of carbolic on ya tongue if ya start talking bad on folks. Where ya get that from, Arletta? Ya know somebody got a daddy meddling with them or what?'

'No.'

'And them whites ain't gonna give us no say-so at all if they hear ya talking that way. Ya knows that, don't ya?'

'Yes.'

'Then just quit with them kinda stories Arletta. We gonna be in a fine set of trouble if folks hear that talk. I don't know what ya thinking.'

'But he …'

'I'm tellin' ya, Arletta, Mr McIntyre's got one good and proper job. He's working in a bank and all, and even running it now, from what I'm hearing. And look what ya doing to what folks think on him. He's got what folks call a reputation. Ya know what that is?' 'Well, no, I ain't know nothing about that. I ain't know nothing except he's a bad man, Mambo.'

'Enough girl, or ya gonna find y'self stretching from the branch of a tree, and me dangling 'longside ya, and all them white folks thinking they's having themselves a picnic.'

She sure ain't listening to me, so I'm just glad Mr McIntyre's gone and got himself all spent out already for today and won't be coming back as soon as she takes o! again.

She's wearing a bright red bandana wrapped up on her head so high like she means business. She's got pink flowers pinned down one side, says it's the fashion, and she's wiggling o! down our track in that tight dress, the one I says gotta be a size too small and showing o! everything she got. Up top that looks like plenty after she's done shoving them up, this way and that way, and pulling that frock down so a nipple pops right out first stretch she makes.

'Oh my,' she always says, 'just look at that. Pardon me, won't you now.' And she reckons that's fine for getting folks giggling.

Excerpted from What the River Washed Away by Muriel Mharie Macleod. Copyright © 2013 by Muriel Mharie Macleod. Excerpted by permission of One World. 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:
  Marksville, Louisiana

One-Month Free Membership

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Harmony
    Harmony
    by Carolyn Parkhurst
    In previous novels such as The Dogs of Babel and Lost and Found, Carolyn Parkhurst has shown herself...
  • Book Jacket: Commonwealth
    Commonwealth
    by Ann Patchett
    Opening Ann Patchett's novel Commonwealth about two semi-functional mid-late 20th Century ...
  • Book Jacket: A Gentleman in Moscow
    A Gentleman in Moscow
    by Amor Towles
    It is June 21, 1922, and 33-year-old Count Alexander Ilyich Rostov is convicted of being a class ...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Darling Days
    by iO Tillett Wright

    A devastatingly powerful memoir of one young woman's extraordinary coming of age.

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    The Tea Planter's Wife
    by Dinah Jefferies

    An utterly engrossing, compulsive page-turner set in 1920s Ceylon.

    Read Member Reviews

Book Discussions
Book Jacket
Sweet Caress
by William Boyd

William Boyd's Sweet Caress captures an entire lifetime unforgettably within its pages. It captivates.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Win this book!
Win Blood at the Root

Blood at the Root

"A gripping, timely, and important examination of American racism."
- PW Starred Review

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

D C Y C Before T A H

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.