Excerpt from Lucky Strike by Nancy Zafris, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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

Lucky Strike

by Nancy Zafris

Lucky Strike by Nancy Zafris X
Lucky Strike by Nancy Zafris
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Apr 2005, 352 pages
    Paperback:
    May 2006, 336 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse Review Team
Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt

Chapter Four

Jean and the children accepted his invitation to drive to the town. Harry dropped the stack of reading material on his front seat onto the floor. Jean propped her feet on the magazines and old newspapers; when she looked down her heels had cut into a Life magazine. She picked up a piece of the cover photo: a pair of intense eyes, darkened almost into a Zorro mask. She fit the ripped edges to another piece and Greta Garbo stared up at her.

Harry and his International Harvester reminded Jean of something she had read concerning the ease of finding uranium:

"I'd been driving along the same road to and from work for years. One day I stopped to change a flat tire and became one of the richest men in the state," said a former plumber's helper and one of the state's newest uraniumaires."

When Harry showed up with his flat tire, it was exactly like one of these testimonials in her many instructional booklets (except for the getting rich uranium part). She was loaded with these booklets -- in addition to the articles from National Geographic and Look and Arizona Quarterly. She had photographs as well, tons of those. To her own mother in Springfield, Ohio she showed only the photographs that depicted hazards and close calls, adopting a flabbergasted air at her mother's panic.

Most of the photographs arrived from the government, however, and they pretended that searching for uranium was an enjoyable social outing that involved pulling a Geiger counter from a picnic basket. Enticing. Why don't you join us.

For example, a smiling man and a smiling lady out on a uranium date. For example, a family of five out for a day of picnicking and uranium hunting. The government pamphlet explained that it was this simple. The uranium sat up grayish yellow in the cartonite rock. You could spot it with field glasses or opt for the simplicity and ease of a Geiger counter. After you found the uranium, the Atomic Energy Commission would help you bulldoze roads so you could mine it out. The A.E.C. would do all it could to help with expenses. Some people like Vernon Pick became millionaires overnight.

Jean didn't believe any of it, or at least not all of it. Her own plan was vague but specific and aimed mostly at Charlie and his scientific nature. Charlie who she couldn't stop thinking about. Charlie her son, Beth her daughter, she was the mother who was everything to them, who put them before all else, who wanted to grab them and keep life at bay. Nevertheless, a part of her left over from childhood urged her to be the errant daughter, to shock, displease, and unleash in her own mother hysterical permission-denied fiats that could no longer be enforced. Another part of her haughtily dismissed the maternal interference she kept inviting in. The one thing she didn't want was a truce. As long as she could go on fighting with her mother like the old days, the pre-Charlie days, the world was normal.

She was quiet as she sat in Harry's truck. She had arrived once again at the image of her own mother weeping and still begging no at the Greyhound bus station. No, don't go – her mother so proud all the time, so careful of her appearance, so careful to step lightly like a dancer – reduced to this. Everyone at the bus station looking at this weeping, youthful grandmother. And now as the errant daughter, was she happy as she drove away in the Rambler station wagon? Was she happy now with the tent she had bought from a lady whose husband had died in Yellowstone Park, with the pickaxe she had been given, with the hammer, with the knapsacks, with the Tupperware, with the pamphlets and the shovel and the cans of chili con carne, with the golf club for beating off danger, with the clothespins and antique washboard, with the flimsy notion that she was ready for this?

From Lucky Strike by Nancy Zafris, pages 26-37 of the hardcover edition.  Copyright Nancy Zafris 2005.  All rights reserved.  No part of this book maybe reproduced without written permission from the publisher, Unbridled Books.

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!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Women Talking
    Women Talking
    by Miriam Toews
    Miriam Toews' Women Talking is a circadian novel, unfolding over a span of just a few hours and ...
  • Book Jacket: Confessions of an Innocent Man
    Confessions of an Innocent Man
    by David R. Dow
    It is circumstance that carries the wave that sweeps trendy Houston restaurateur Rafael Zhettah to ...
  • Book Jacket: Memories of the Future
    Memories of the Future
    by Siri Hustvedt
    I've never kept a journal, but my mother has written in hers for years, the annual volumes she's ...
  • Book Jacket: Professor Chandra Follows His Bliss
    Professor Chandra Follows His Bliss
    by Rajeev Balasubramanyam
    Rajeev Balasubramanyam encapsulates the theme of Professor Chandra Follows his Bliss in its first ...

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The Affairs of the Falcóns
    by Melissa Rivero

    A beautiful, urgent novel about the lengths one woman is willing to go to build a new life.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    When We Left Cuba
    by Chanel Cleeton

    An exhilarating historical novel from the author of Next Year in Havana, a Reese Witherspoon Book Club pick.
    Reader Reviews

Book Club
Book Jacket
An American Marriage
by Tayari Jones

A masterpiece of storytelling, and a 2018 Oprah's Book Club Selection.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Book Club Giveaway!
Win Ecstasy

Win copies to share with friends or your book club!

Ecstasy reveals the true Alma Mahler: composer, author, daughter, mother, wife, lover, and muse.

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

A B Penny A T U

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.