Excerpt from A Certain Age by Beatriz Williams, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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

A Certain Age

A Novel

by Beatriz Williams

A Certain Age by Beatriz Williams X
A Certain Age by Beatriz Williams
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Jun 2016, 336 pages
    Paperback:
    Jan 2017, 384 pages

    Genres

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse First Impression Reviewers
Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


So I am more than capable, despite my shredded interior, of maintaining a purposeful calm as I pluck my lover's hands from my shoulders while my husband pounds and pounds on the door downstairs. "Get under the bed, Boyo," I say. "Now. And stay there."

His eyebrows are still up, and the brain behind them turns furiously, like an engine running fast under a placid hood. You can't see the color of his eyes, the air is too dark, but let me assure you they are a most engaging shade of pale blue-green, equally capable—depending on the light and his mood—of Mediterranean warmth or arctic frigidity. I can imagine which climate prevails now.

The pounding stops, the doorknob rattles—it isn't locked—and the hinges release a long and cantankerous squeak.

I point to the bed. "Now, Boyo." Or we're through. (I don't actually say those last three words, of course—no one likes an ultimatum, least of all the Boy—but you can feel them there, sharp-edged, dangling off the end of the sentence.)

The Boy shrugs his long, ropy shoulders and turns away. "If that's what you want," he says.

And that sound you hear, beneath the ponderous rhythm of a man climbing a set of high wooden stairs, is the hairline cracking of my heart, straight through the calcified left ventricle.


BUT THE MAN STANDING IN the doorway isn't Thomas Sylvester Marshall, after all, enraged or otherwise.

"Ox?" I exclaim. "What on earth are you doing here?"

My brother strides up to me, takes my by the shoulders, and kisses both cheeks. "Happy New Year, Sisser! Look at you. Haven't aged a minute."

"Oh, stop." I shove him away. "You gave me such a fright."

He steps back obediently, casts his eyes along the walls, and sends forth a slow whistle. "Sylvo said I might find you here."

"He did, did he?"

"I thought he was crazy. What are you, hibernating?"

Perhaps it's time for a chat with my husband.

"Something like that."

"This place have a lamp or something? I can't see a thing. And boy, is it frosty."

I turn to the sole piece of furniture in the room, other than the bed: a beaten-up pine dresser wedged between the window and a diagonal roof beam. The matchbook lies next to the base of the kerosene lamp. "I thought you said I hadn't aged a minute."

"What's that?"

"Well, how could you tell a thing like that if you can't see?" I set the dome back on the lamp, and the room illuminates slowly, chasing out the frozen dawn by concentric degrees. The smell of burning kerosene enters the air, and it makes me yearn for the Boy's nakedness, his coiled-rope muscle under my hands, lit by an oil lamp.

"All right, now, Theresa. Lay off a fella. How are you? What the devil are you doing in this old shack? You crackers or something?" He frowns. "Say, you're not here with some sheik, are you?"

"Of course not."

"Yeah, I guess not. Old Sylvo wouldn't stand for it."

He's such a dunce, my brother. A sleek, good-looking, bachelor dunce.

"Of course he wouldn't. I'm just hibernating, as you say. Taking the edge off the New Year with a little simple living."

"Simple's right." He cast another look, shivered, and burrowed deeper into his overcoat. "Think of lighting that old stove, maybe?"

"It is lit." I push away from the dresser and make my way to ancient cast-iron stove in the room's final corner, the relic of some long-gone coachman. A few small lumps lie overlooked in the scuttle, and I lift the stove's lid and drop them in. "I just forgot to bring in more coal, that's all."

Ox doesn't reply, and I rub my hands inside the feeble bubble of heat rising from the top of the stove, until his silence begins to unnerve me. I turn my head. "What is it?"

Excerpted from A Certain Age by Beatriz Williams. Copyright © 2016 by Beatriz Williams. Excerpted by permission of William Morrow. 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:
  The Jazz Age: A Quick Tour

Join BookBrowse

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

Find out more


Today's Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: Seek You
    Seek You
    by Kristen Radtke
    In the first pages of Seek You: A Journey Through American Loneliness, Kristen Radtke's sophomore ...
  • Book Jacket: The Man Who Hated Women
    The Man Who Hated Women
    by Amy Sohn
    If debates over women's reproductive health seem stuck in an earlier era — the fact that birth...
  • Book Jacket: The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois
    The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois
    by Honorée Fannone Jeffers
    Honorée Fannone Jeffers' The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois explores the Black experience in ...
  • Book Jacket: Beautiful World, Where Are You
    Beautiful World, Where Are You
    by Sally Rooney
    Beautiful World, Where Are You centers around four key characters, the most prominent of which are ...

Book Club Discussion
Book Jacket
In Every Mirror She's Black
by Lola Akinmade Akerstrom
An arresting debut for anyone looking for insight into what it means to be a Black woman in the world.

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    A Million Things
    by Emily Spurr

    "An impressively assured debut. A gem of a novel."
    —Graeme Simsion, author of The Rosie Project

  • Book Jacket

    Never Saw Me Coming
    by Vera Kurian

    "Fun, entertaining and hard to put down."
    The New York Journal of Books

Win This Book!
Win A Most Clever Girl

A Most Clever Girl by Stephanie Marie Thornton

A thrilling novel of love and espionage, based on the incredible true story of a Cold War double agent.

Enter

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

Run T G

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.