Excerpt from The Memory of Light by Francisco X. Stork, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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The Memory of Light

by Francisco X. Stork

The Memory of Light by Francisco X. Stork X
The Memory of Light by Francisco X. Stork
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  • First Published:
    Jan 2016, 336 pages
    Aug 2017, 336 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Sarah Tomp

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Print Excerpt


I tried to write you in Spanish but my Español no es muy bueno en este momento. So I try in English. If you're reading this it's because you found it taped to the back of Mamá's painting. Take the painting with you to Mexico and the climbing pink roses will remind you of Mamá and maybe of me too. I know you're sad now as you read this. I wish I could tell you not to be triste but I know you. Think of something happy and funny like the time I finally got you to go in the pool because it was good for your arthritis. Remember how I laughed and you screeched when we went in? How you held on to me for dear life? The Spanish word I never heard you say before when I let go of you.

Nana I want to tell you this. Please don't think I don't love you or that I don't love Becca or Father or Barbara either. I held off from doing this for a long, long time because I knew how bad you and everyone would feel. But the love I have for all of you doesn't stop the hurt I feel inside. I'm sorry my nana. I love you. It gave Mamá peace to know you would be there to take care of me and Becca. And you did, you took care of me. Like your own daughter. Thank you. Gracias mi nana.

I better go. I'm getting real sleepy and I want to tape this up while I still can.

Love you


Chapter One


I open my eyes when I hear my name.

I'm lying down. A white bed. To my left a window. Pale-blue sky. To my right a face. The same lady from last night. Underneath her white coat, I see a shiny green dress.

She told me her name before. In the emergency room when they brought me in. I am in a different room now.

Dr. Desai. I remember.

My head is full of words, floating unconnected, moving in slow motion. Dr. Desai is talking. Sounds without meaning. Some of the words are coming from her and some of them come from someplace in me.

"Victoria," I hear Dr. Desai say again in the distance. "People call you Vicky."

I nod.

Dr. Desai pulls up a chair and sits, but my bed is so high I can see only the top of her gray head. She pushes a button beside the bed to lower it, but nothing happens. She stands and moves back a step or two to give me space.

"How do you feel?"

I can tell she's asking about my body and not my mind. I touch my throat, noticing soreness there for the first time.

"From the stomach pump," Dr. Desai says. "I can give you some lozenges if you like."

I shake my head. I remember waking up, gagging, a rubber tube in my mouth and a woman with dark hair holding my shoulders down. Then I must have passed out again.

I'm wearing a hospital gown. I wonder what happened to my clothes. The skin on my chest is scratched and raw.

"You're at Lakeview Hospital. Your father agreed to let you stay here until tomorrow, but you can decide to be with us longer if you want to," Dr. Desai says.

Want. Decide. The words are like the cascarones we used to decorate for Easter when my mother was alive. Eggshells empty of all life, meant to be admired. What I want now is the silence I glimpsed last night.

"Do you feel like talking a little?"

"Not really," I whisper hoarsely. I mean that I don't know what there is to say.

Dr. Desai offers me a glass of water and I drink from it. I give her back the glass and she places it carefully on the night-stand next to the bed.

Excerpted from The Memory of Light by Francisco X Stork. Copyright © 2016 by Francisco X Stork. Excerpted by permission of Arthur A. Levine Books. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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