Excerpt from Frog Music by Emma Donoghue, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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

Frog Music

by Emma Donoghue

Frog Music by Emma Donoghue X
Frog Music by Emma Donoghue
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Apr 2014, 416 pages
    Paperback:
    Feb 2015, 432 pages

    Genres

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Norah Piehl
Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt

Sitting on the edge of the bed in the front room, Blanche stoops to rip at the laces of her gaiters. "'Dors, min p'tit quinquin—'" Her husky voice frays to a thread on the second high note. She clears her throat, rasping away the heat.

A train hurtles north from San Jose. The light from the locomotive's headlamp jabs through the long gap between the peeling window frame and the green blind, illuminating the room for Blanche: the shabby bureau, the bedstead, and Jenny, lolling against the scarred headboard. The Eight Mile House shakes like cardboard as the freight cars rattle by. Here at San Miguel Station, they're right at the southern boundary—the last gasp—of San Francisco.

Two days Blanche and Jenny have been boarding with the McNamaras, auld acquaintance to Jenny but still virtually strangers to Blanche. How much longer will Blanche be stuck in this four-room shack, she wonders, on the parched outskirts of the outskirts of the City? And how will she decide when it's even halfway safe to go back?

Blanche has got the left gaiter off now, and the boot below it, but the laces on the other one have snagged, and in the light of the single candle stub she can't find the knot; her long nails pick at the
laces.

Dors, min p'tit quinquin,
Min p'tit pouchin,
Min gros rojin…

Sleep, my little child, my little chick, my fat grape. The old tune comes more sweetly now, the notes like pinpricks. A silly Picard rhyme her grandmother used to sing to Blanche in the tiny attic in
Paris.

"'Dors, min p'tit quinquin, min p'tit pouchin ... '"
Jenny slides the refrain back at her like a lazy leaf in a river.

It still amazes Blanche how fast this young woman can pick up a song on first hearing.

"How does the rest of it go?" Jenny asks, up on one elbow, brown cheeks sparkling with sweat. Her flesh from nose to brows is puffy, darkening. She'll have a pair of black eyes by morning.
But Blanche doesn't want to think about that. Jenny doesn't harp on what's past, does she? She wears her bruises like parade gear, and they fade fast.
Blanche sits up straighter on the edge of the bed and sings on.

Te m'f'ras du chagrin
Si te n'dors point qu'à d'main.

"'Shut your trap, little baby, before I shut it for you,'" Jenny translates very loosely, nodding. "Guess most lullabies boil down to that."

  • 1

Excerpted from Frog Music by Emma Donoghue. Copyright © 2014 by Emma Donoghue. Excerpted by permission of Little Brown & Company. 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 $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book:
  Smallpox and Xenophobia

Join BookBrowse

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

Find out more


Today's Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: The Souvenir Museum
    The Souvenir Museum
    by Elizabeth McCracken
    Elizabeth McCracken's book The Souvenir Museum is composed of 12 short stories populated by ...
  • Book Jacket: First Person Singular
    First Person Singular
    by Haruki Murakami
    Readers familiar with Haruki Murakami will know that music is often a central theme in his work. The...
  • Book Jacket: Yolk
    Yolk
    by Mary Choi
    Mary H.K. Choi's young adult offering Yolk deftly maintains several plotlines running through the ...
  • Book Jacket: The Blizzard Party
    The Blizzard Party
    by Jack Livings
    It is 1978 and the place is New York City. A massive bacchanalian party is taking place at an Upper ...

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The Widow Queen
    by Elzbieta Cherezinska

    The epic story of an 11th century Polish queen whose life and name were all but forgotten until now.

    Reader Reviews
  • Book Jacket

    The Funny Thing About Norman Foreman
    by Julietta Henderson

    A charming, uplifting debut about a mother and her 12-year-old son, an aspiring comedian.

    Reader Reviews
Book Club Discussion
Book Jacket
Miss Austen
by Gill Hornby
A witty, poignant novel about Cassandra Austen and her famous sister, Jane.
Who Said...

It is a fact of life that any discourse...will always please if it is five minutes shorter than people expect

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

P M Fly

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.