MLA Platinum Award Press Release

Excerpt from Saving Elijah by Fran Dorf, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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

Saving Elijah

by Fran Dorf

Saving Elijah by Fran Dorf X
Saving Elijah by Fran Dorf
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • Published:
    Jun 2000, 384 pages

    Genres

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


We are on a small boat in a great azure sea, bobbing above the Great Barrier Reef. The expanse of water spreads for miles in every direction. We're still wearing our swimsuits after swimming with the fish. So. Elijah will learn to swim after all, he has always been so afraid of the water. Our skin has dried now, drenched in the warmth of the noon sun. His skin has darkened, his hair lightened from its normal reddish color to a lustrous golden-blond. Our snorkel masks and fins lie on the boat deck, and Elijah is sitting on my lap while we examine a piece of coral together. I am so proud of him, he has learned so much. He still can't read very well, but he talks in sentences and he makes up stories, and I love him more and more. God granted him great progress after his recovery from the coma, an additional gift.

I kiss Elijah's fingers - he has scraped the skin on his fingertip against the rough, pocked surface of the coral.

"Look, honey, do you see all these little holes? In each of these tiny holes there used to be an animal."

He pushes his glasses up on his nose. "An elephant?"

I'm about to tell him about tiny sea creatures, but he looks so hopeful that I say, "Well, if you want elephants to live in each of these holes, then that's what lives there. Tiny little elephants with funny little trunks smaller than toothpicks."

He laughs and peers at me from behind his glasses. "You're silly, Mommy."

"You're silly, too." Beneath the surface of the rippling water, I can see brain corals, stag corals, honeycombs. Tall and fat, tiny and towering, reds, whites, greens. And crevasses between the coral for brilliant fish, electric blue multitudes, yellow schools, resting places. We all need resting places, do we not?

A giant turtle swims right by. "Look, Elijah!"

With a smile, Elijah puts his hands up at his shoulders and flaps them, imitating the turtle. I laugh. He shoves his glasses up on his nose again and rests his elbows on the side of the boat, his chin on his hands.

The little stars were the herring fish That lived in the beautiful sea.

The song, now coming from nowhere and everywhere.

Elijah sits up again and looks around. "Who's singing?"

This music has become all things to me now, a hymn, a dirge, a concerto, a symphony. Solemn and joyful, a reverie and a mazurka, both a major and a minor key. Liquid silk and rock and roll and razzmatazz, too. Debussy, the Fifth Brandenburg, the Rolling Stones, Art Garfunkel singing "Bridge Over Troubled Water," and Jobim on guitar. All of it, all at once. And the voice? A virtual choir that seems to contain every emotion, every sensation, lifting me up like a strong wind, soothing me like a tenor sax, rousing me like a bass, loving me like a violin, rocking me like a drum.

"It must be God singing from the heavens." The secrets of the universe contained in every measure and chord.

"Heaven is where dead people go?" My son lazily dips a finger in the water.

I nod. "That's what they say, Elijah."

"Is that where I almost went?" Back down to resting his chin on his hands, elbows on the side of the boat.

"Yes, I suppose so."

"It must be a very big place, to hold all the dead people."

I laugh. My Elijah will become a child who speculates about such things, who imagines.

"Yes," I tell him. "God's arms are very big. And isn't God's song wonderful?"

He turns his head toward me without lifting his chin from his hands. "I don't know, Mommy. I kind of like Elvis."

I laugh and laugh and laugh.

"Mrs. Galligan? Are you all right?" Dr. Jonas, bending over me. "Can I get you something?"

Where was the azure sea?

The world collapsed inward, and I heard a sucking sound as I crashed back into the place where I could not be, where I could not live, where Elijah, lying mute on a bed, entangled in tubes, might never reach the age of seven or eight.

Reprinted from Saving Elijah by Fran Dorf by permission of Putnam Pub. Group, a member of Penguin Putnam Inc. Copyright (c) 2000 by Fran Dorf. All rights reserved. This excerpt, or any parts thereof, may not be reproduced in any form without permission.

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!

Support BookBrowse

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

Join Now!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket
    Cantoras
    by Carolina De Robertis
    Cantoras by Carolina De Robertis follows five characters who share a house, troubles, joys and parts...
  • Book Jacket: Daughters Of Smoke & Fire
    Daughters Of Smoke & Fire
    by Ava Homa
    Ava Homa's debut novel begins with an epigraph by Sherko Bekas, a Kurdish poet, the last lines of ...
  • Book Jacket: The Book of V.
    The Book of V.
    by Anna Solomon
    In ancient Persia, Esther, a young Jewish woman, parades herself in front of the king in a desperate...
  • Book Jacket: How to Be an Antiracist
    How to Be an Antiracist
    by Ibram X. Kendi
    Ibram X. Kendi opens How to Be an Antiracist with a personal story he finds shameful in retrospect, ...

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The Last Train to Key West
    by Chanel Cleeton

    Romance and danger are locked into Cleeton's suitcase for this journey to 1935 Key West.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    The Voyage of the Morning Light
    by Marina Endicott

    A sweeping novel set aboard a merchant ship sailing through the South Pacific in 1912.
    Reader Reviews

Book Club Discussion
Book Jacket
The Beekeeper of Aleppo
by Christy Lefteri

This moving, intimate, and beautifully written novel puts human faces on the Syrian war.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Win this book!
Win Of Bears and Ballots

An Alaskan Adventure in Small-Town Politics

A charming account of holding local office with an entertaining, quirky cast of characters.

Enter

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

A S Louder T W

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.