MLA Platinum Award Press Release

Excerpt from Wake by Anna Hope, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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

Wake

by Anna Hope

Wake by Anna Hope X
Wake by Anna Hope
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Feb 2014, 304 pages
    Paperback:
    Oct 2016, 320 pages

    Genres

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Sarah Sacha Dollacker
Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt

Day 1

Sunday, November 7, 1920
Three soldiers emerge from their billets near Arras, northern France: a colonel, a sergeant, and a private. It is sometime close to the middle of the night and bitterly cold. The men make their way to a field ambulance parked next to the entrance gate; the colonel sits in the front with the sergeant, while the private climbs into the back. The sergeant starts up the engine, and drives them out and onto the road beyond.

The young private holds on to a strap dangling from the roof, as the van lurches over the rutted road. He feels shaky, and this jolting is not helping things. The raw morning has the feel of a punishment: When he was woken, minutes ago, he was told only to get dressed and get outside. He has done nothing wrong so far as he can tell, but the army is tricky like that. There have been many times in the six months since he arrived in France when he has transgressed, and only afterward been told how or why.

He closes his eyes, tightening his grip as the van pitches and rolls. He had hoped he would see things over here. The sorts of things he missed by being too young to fight. The sorts of things his older brother wrote home about. The hero brother who died taking a German trench, and whose body was never found.

But the truth is he hasn't seen much of anything at all. In the front of the van, the sergeant sits forward, concentrating hard on the road ahead. He knows it well but still prefers to drive in the day, as there are several treacherous shell holes along it. He wouldn't want to lose a tire, not tonight. He, too, has no idea why he is here, so early and without warning, but from the taut silence of the colonel beside him, he knows enough not to ask.

And so the soldiers sit, the engine rumbling beneath their feet, passing through open country now, though there is nothing to show for it— nothing visible beyond the headlights' glare, only an occasional startled animal scooting back into darkness on the road ahead. When they have been driving for half an hour or so, the colonel rasps out an order. "Here. Stop here." He hits his hand against the dash. The sergeant pulls the ambulance over onto the shoulder of the road. The engine judders and is still. There is silence, and the men climb down.

The colonel turns on his flashlight and reaches into the back of the van. He brings out two shovels, handing one each to the other men. Next, he takes out a large burlap sack, which he carries himself. He climbs over a low wall and the men follow him, walking slowly, their flashlight beams bobbing ahead.

The frosted ground means the mud is hard and easy enough to walk on, but the private is careful; the land is littered with twisted metal and with holes, sometimes deep. He knows the ground is peppered with unexploded shells. There are often funerals for the Chinese laborers who have been brought over to clear the fields of bodies and ordnance. He saw five dead last week alone, all laid out in a row. They end up buried in the very cemeteries they are over here to dig. But despite the cold and the uncertainty, he is starting to enjoy himself. It is exciting to be out here in this darkness, where ruined trees loom and danger feels close. He could almost imagine he is on a different mission. Something heroic. Something to write home about.

Soon the ground falls away, and the men stand before a ditch in the earth, the remains of a trench. The colonel climbs down and begins walking along it, and the others follow, single file, along its zigzag lines.

The private measures his height against the side. He is not a tall man, and the trench is not high. They pass the remains of a dugout on their right, its doorway bent at a crazed angle, one of its supports long gone. He hesitates a moment before it, shining his flashlight inside, but there is nothing much to see, only an old table, pushed up against the wall, a rusted tin can still standing open on the top. He pulls his light back from the dank hole, and hurries to keep up.

Excerpted from Wake by Anna Hope. Copyright © 2014 by Anna Hope. Excerpted by permission of Random House. 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" articles
  • 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 $39 for a year or $12 for 3 months
  • More about membership!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: This Is Happiness
    This Is Happiness
    by Niall Williams
    Niall Williams's This Is Happiness offers an extraordinary portrait of a particular moment in the ...
  • Book Jacket: In the Dream House
    In the Dream House
    by Carmen Maria Machado
    In the introduction to In the Dream House, Carmen Maria Machado (a National Book Award finalist for ...
  • Book Jacket: Father of Lions
    Father of Lions
    by Louise Callaghan
    Our readers have given high marks to Father of Lions by Louise Callaghan. Out of 21 reviewers, 18 ...
  • Book Jacket: American Dirt
    American Dirt
    by Jeanine Cummins
    Jeanine Cummins' American Dirt hasn't just been positively reviewed by BookBrowse First Impressions ...

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Cartier's Hope
    by M. J. Rose

    A Gilded Age gem of ambition & betrayal from the author of New York Times bestseller, Tiffany Blues.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Remembrance
    by Rita Woods

    A breakout debut with modern resonance, perfect for fans of The Underground Railroad and Orphan Train.
    Reader Reviews

Book Club Discussion
Book Jacket
Today We Go Home
by Kelli Estes

Illuminating and deeply human, Today We Go Home shines a light on the brave military women of the past and present.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Win this book!
Win The Adventurer's Son

Publishing Soon!
The Adventurer's Son

"A brave and marvelous book. A page-turner that will rip your heart out."
--Jon Krakauer

Enter

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

I I A Broke, D F I

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 the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.