Excerpt from The Gardens of Kyoto by Kate Walbert, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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

The Gardens of Kyoto

A Novel

by Kate Walbert

The Gardens of Kyoto
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Apr 2001, 288 pages
    Paperback:
    Mar 2002, 288 pages

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


I tried to picture him writing it, sitting at a large metal desk in the middle of a barracks, like something I might have seen in Life. I pictured him stooped over, with a reader's concentration, digging the pen into the regulation paper in the way he would have, if we were talking face-to-face, stressed a word. I saw him in civilian clothes, in the dress pants he wore every Easter. The same ones, as far as I could tell -- a light gray wool, each year hitched up a little higher and now, leg crossed across one knee, entirely ill-fitting, the RBP far above the ankle. He might have, from time to time, put the pen down and leaned back to think of a particular description, fingering those initials he had stitched in red. It was clear to me even then that he had worked on the letter like a boy who wants to be a writer. Certain words broke his true voice, were tried on, tested for fit. They were a hat too big for him -- the Randall I knew interrupted again and again by the Randall Randall might have become. The Hell, as I have mentioned. A line from some dead poet -- I would think of a thousand things, lovely and durable, and taste them slowly -- I had heard him recite in his room a hundred times, and other words I recognized as words still left to learn. It seemed he wanted to cram everything in.

Still, it is a beautiful letter. I have saved it for years. It finds its way into my hands at the oddest times, and when it does I always hold it for a while. Teddy shouts Carry on!, and I curse him. All of them. Then I pull out the paper, one creased sheath, and unfold it as slowly as I would a gift I'd never opened. My fear is that somehow in my absence, his words have come undone, been shaken loose, rearranged; the letters shuffled into indecipherable forms.

But there! My name in salutation, the sweetness of the attendant Dear. I'm again as I was, as he may have pictured me when -- writing at that desk beneath the window, the metal newly polished, the air fresh, eucalyptus-scented, the sea lions barking -- he signed Love, Randall, and underlined it with a flourish as elegant as a bow.

Copyright © 2001 by Kate Walbert

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • 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 $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

One Month Free Membership

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Underground Airlines
    by Ben Winters

    "The Invisible Man meets Blade Runner in this outstanding alternate history thriller." - PW Star

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    The Book That Matters Most
    by Ann Hood

    An enthralling novel about love, loss, secrets and friendship.

    Read Member Reviews

Book Discussions
Book Jacket
Girl Waits with Gun
by Amy Stewart

An enthralling novel based on the forgotten true adventures of one of the nation's first female deputy sheriffs.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Win this book!
Win Lady Cop Makes Trouble

The Kopp Sisters Return!

One of the nation's first female deputy sheriffs returns in another gripping adventure based on fact.

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

Manners M (T) 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 books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.

 
X

Free Weekly Newsletter

Keep up with what's happening in the world of books:
Reviews, previews, interviews and more!



Spam Free: Your email is never shared with anyone; opt out any time.