MLA Platinum Award Press Release

Excerpt from To Capture What We Cannot Keep by Beatrice Colin, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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

To Capture What We Cannot Keep

by Beatrice Colin

To Capture What We Cannot Keep by Beatrice Colin X
To Capture What We Cannot Keep by Beatrice Colin
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Nov 2016, 304 pages
    Paperback:
    Oct 2017, 304 pages

    Genres

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Davida Chazan
Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


"Well?" said Jamie.

The image blurred, her head began to pound; it was too much. She stepped back.

"You're shaking!" Jamie laughed. "Wait until I tell my sister."

"I'm fine," she told him. "At least, I'll be fine in a minute. Go, go and make the most of it."

Despite the heat from the brazier, the air was far colder up here than on the showground. Her hands were indeed trembling, but it wasn't just the chill. What scared her most was not the thought that she might fall out of the gondola, but the sense that she might be seized at any moment by an overwhelming compulsion to jump. Since her husband's death she had often felt this panic, as if she existed in a liminal space, half in and half out of the world.

In the quiver of the heat coming from the fire, she tried to focus on something, anything. She heard a small click and turned. A man was standing behind a small wooden box on the other side of the basket, his face absorbed in thought. He wore a softly knotted bow tie and, unlike the rest of the passengers, wasn't wearing a hat. As if he felt her gaze, he blinked and looked around. For no more than a fraction of a second, their eyes met. Cait's heart accelerated, a rapid knocking against a solid wall of whalebone and wool. She swallowed and glanced away. What on earth did she think she was doing? What kind of a lady returned a man's gaze? She turned and sought other, safer distractions. Next to her a party of Americans were discussing restaurants.

"Five francs for an apple on a plate," one of the men was saying. "It was daylight robbery."

"But the wine was very reasonable," his companion pointed out.

"That may well be, but they saw me coming. I aim to avoid dining at our hotel for the remainder of my trip. The French have a nose for gullibility, so I hear."

She was suddenly aware that the man without the hat had come to her side of the balloon and was looking out across the river toward the north of the city. She concentrated wholeheartedly on listening to the Americans' accounts of terrible food and horrendous hotel experiences. But she was conscious of him, of his proximity, of the wooden box he was carrying, of his hair swept back from his forehead falling in loose, dark curls over his collar, of the rise of his frozen breath mingling with her own.

"Fleas!" one voice rang out. "Fleas everywhere!"

"I had bedbugs," another agreed. "They even got into my toothbrush."

The man took another, smaller wooden box out of the first box and carefully attached it to three metal legs. It looked like some sort of photographic device. Photography was the new craze in Paris, and she had seen dozens of men carrying those mahogany and brass boxes, strolling up and down the Quais or setting up in the Luxembourg Gardens.

She could see now that he was slightly older than he had first appeared, maybe around forty. His dark hair was flecked with gray, his coat was finely cut and his shoes polished; he looked cared for. And yet there was something in the way he moved, in the slant of his shoulders and the way he took up space in the world that she recognized. He was a man who was, or had been, lonely.

As she watched, he opened the box and extended a small concertina shape from the front. And then he stepped to the side of the gondola and leaned over. Cait felt a surge, the momentum of falling, headlong, into nothingness. Of its own accord, her hand reached out and grabbed his arm. He turned.

"Madame?" he said.

"Excuse me," she blurted out in French. "But you looked as if you were about to—"

Cait opened her mouth but couldn't say the word.

"Throw myself over the edge?" he asked in French.

She blinked at him.

"I was going to say 'fall.'"

"Not today, but thank you for your concern," he said.

He glanced down to where her hand still gripped his sleeve. It was her left hand, bare now of the wedding band she used to wear.

Excerpted from To Capture What We Cannot Keep by Beatrice Colin. Copyright © 2016 by Beatrice Colin. Excerpted by permission of Flatiron Books. 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:
  Gustav Eiffel's Legacy

Support BookBrowse

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

Join Now!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: The Kindness of Strangers
    The Kindness of Strangers
    by Michael E. McCullough
    "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." Everyone, at some point in their life, has ...
  • Book Jacket: Hamnet
    Hamnet
    by Maggie O'Farrell
    William Shakespeare's name is never used in Hamnet — a conspicuous absence around which Maggie...
  • Book Jacket: After the Last Border
    After the Last Border
    by Jessica Goudeau
    According to the United Nations Refugee Agency, the number of displaced people around the world is ...
  • Book Jacket: Crossings
    Crossings
    by Alex Landragin
    Crossings is a beautiful, if slightly messy, time-bending debut. It reads like a vampire novel, sans...

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Hieroglyphics
    by Jill McCorkle

    A mesmerizing novel about piecing together the hieroglyphics of history and memory.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    With or Without You
    by Caroline Leavitt

    A moving novel about twists of fate, the shifting terrain of love, and coming into your own.
    Reader Reviews

Book Club Discussion
Book Jacket
Every Bone a Prayer
by Ashley Blooms

The the story of one tough-as-nails girl whose choices are few but whose fight is boundless.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Win this book!
Win Every Bone a Prayer

Every Bone a Prayer
by Ashley Blooms

A beautifully honest exploration of healing and of hope.

Enter

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

T Real M

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.