Excerpt from Chalktown by Melinda Haynes, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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

Chalktown

by Melinda Haynes

Chalktown
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    May 2001, 336 pages
    Paperback:
    Jun 2002, 352 pages

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


The pecan tree got itself sheared by a storm ten years back, its lower arms were jagged now. No pecans for the past four years for want of a good liming. But for occasional goose shit there'd been no attempt at fertilizing. That tree out there needs attention, near about as bad as Hezekiah, he figured. Marion looked at those blue eyes again, thinking, This one's harnessed with a burden not of his makin. And it don't seem right. Not with sixteen as fresh as it is, and boys runnin round gettin some all up and down the river. And this one here with his yellow hair and big arms and fresh face not likely to anytime this decade.

"Chalktown's no good. You got no business goin there," Marion said.

"I’m goin anyhow."

"You ort leave them folks be. Go somewheres else."

"I made up my mind on it."

There was silence then, and the sound of field thrush and warbler drifted up from the thick border of the woods. Marion cleared his throat. "Seein how you aint learned to listen worth a lick, it'd be no trouble for me to sit the boy if you want to go on by yourself," he said. "I'd watch him good." Marion had suddenly remembered the gal near Basin who never wore underpants. Not even on Sunday. He supposed he could spread a blanket out in the sun, and place the five-year-old there while he trimmed up the old pecan and laid down a lime drip. "I'd make sure she stayed clear of him ... " He gave one furtive look at the little boy's yellowing bruise.

Just like an open door, it was there between them. Marion's knowing and Hezekiah's knowing that he knew, and then the door shut again. Hez, his face placid and unconcerned, looked at the man. "Yellababy aint ever seen much of anything other than the lower half of life, and I feel that's a shame, don't you?"

"If that's what you think."

"Yep, that's what I think."

"Caint say I believe he’ll remember much of what he sees, though." Unless maybe he were to see that gal who don't wear her underpants. I reckon that female would make a blind man swear to sight, quick as Bartemaeous.

Yellababy blablablaed, singsong and idiot-like, while a goose waddled over and stood by the pump shed. In Marion Calhoun's opinion it was too still for a goose, even a good one.

"He knows more’n we think, I'd just bet." Hez hitched up the straps of his brother's harness again.

Marion spit brown tobacco juice over the fence and watched it disappear into the baked dirt path.

"Anyhow, I don't worry so much when he's with me."

"That's a way to look at it, I reckon," Marion said.

"Yessir, it is. The only way I got right now."

His arm stretched along the top of the fence, the man stood still as a tree while Hezekiah walked toward the graveled road. Yellababy's face peered out from his pack, those stiffened-up arms swinging like somebody's broken puppet.

Four geese waddled with outstretched necks to the road, and then stopped as though a hand were there, pinning them back, penning them in. Marion Calhoun watched the two Sheehand boys until they were two indistinguishable specks shrinking on the horizon. Looking up and down the long stretch of dirt road, those sweet mornings when it was just the birds and the quiet wind and Marion Calhoun seemed as far away as the Carolina mountains.

"Well, I guess it's true what folks say." Marion watched the geese stranded near the road, their feet glued to the earth. "Nobody ever really leaves this place. They just fool themselves into thinkin they do."

Copyright © 2001 Melinda Haynes

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!
Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    •  
    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    •  
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    •  
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    •  
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    •  
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    •  
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
    •  

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: The Invisible Life of Ivan Isaenko
    The Invisible Life of Ivan Isaenko
    by Scott Stambach
    BookBrowse First Impression reviewers were uniformly impressed by this difficult yet heartwarming ...
  • Book Jacket: Boy Erased
    Boy Erased
    by Garrard Conley
    Growing up in rural Arkansas, Garrard Conley did not quite fit the mold of his strait-laced, ...
  • Book Jacket: The Bones of Grace
    The Bones of Grace
    by Tahmima Anam
    The Bones of Grace completes Tahmima Anam's Bangladesh trilogy. The three novels, which can be ...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Invisible Life of Ivan Isaenko
    by Scott Stambach

    "An auspicious, gut-wrenching, wonderful debut." - Kirkus, starred review

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    All the Ugly and Wonderful Things
    by Bryn Greenwood

    A memorable coming-of-age tale about loyalty, defiance, and the power of love.

    Read Member Reviews

Book Discussions
Book Jacket
This Must Be the Place
by Maggie O'Farrell

An irresistible love story for fans of Beautiful Ruins and Where'd You Go, Bernadette?

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.