Excerpt from The English Teacher by Lily King, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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

The English Teacher

by Lily King

The English Teacher by Lily King
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Sep 2005, 256 pages
    Paperback:
    Jun 2006, 256 pages

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


"Congrats, Mom," he said to her and pecked her on the cheek. There was a bit of a bristle to his chin. "This has been a long time coming."

He was beaming at her, though he barely knew Tom. A handful of hellos at the door, that was all.  They celebrated with cookies and cider. She filled the glasses, passed the plate, but still she was somewhere apart from her body, and this moment was somehow apart from the rest of her life. Again and again she felt they were practicing, all three of them, and each time she smiled at Tom or Peter, she felt they were acknowledging that, too.

She walked Tom out to his car. She hoped that this would serve as their date, that she could have the rest of the evening to herself to finish her work. But he hugged her again and said he'd pick her up at seven.

He got into his car, then leapt out. "I almost forgot." He reached into the backseat. "A little engagement present."

It was a blue box with his insignia on it, Belou Clothiers. He had been that certain she'd say yes.

"When I was a very little boy," he said, leaning against the car and pulling her toward him in a gesture of familiarity that was probably familiar only to his wife in the grave, "my grandfather made a dress for a customer, a very simple dress. A few weeks later a friend of hers came in the shop and ordered the exact same dress. She said her friend had told her it was a magic dress. After that he got another request, and another. My grandfather must have made twenty-five of those dresses. I forgot all about them and then when I saw you I remembered. I remembered the dress exactly, right down to the pearl buttons. I don't know why."  

She lifted off the top. It was yellow, a color she never wore. She was relieved that it was a summer dress with tiny capped sleeves: it would be at least eight months before she'd be expected to wear it.

"It's lovely," she said, holding it up to herself. Dear God, what had she done?

"It's magic." He kissed her again. The kisses were different now—firmer, possessive.

Tom the Tailor made me a dress, she imagined telling Carol, though she knew she wouldn't.

She watched his car turn off her gravel road and onto the paved school avenue, which carried him past the mansion and all its new limbs, then the tennis bubble, then the hockey rink, in a long arc before finally setting him back on the main road. She would have to leave this campus, this haven of fifteen years, if she actually married him.

"Aren't you freezing?" Peter called to her from the front door. There was a thrill, a wildness, in his voice she'd never heard before. She opened the trunk of her car and tossed the box in. What's in the box, he'd ask when she got a little closer. He was going to have so many questions this afternoon. She stopped on the path to the house and lit a cigarette to buy herself some more time.

From The English Teacher by Lily King. Copyright Lily King 2005.  Reprinted with the permission of the publisher, Atlantic Monthly Press.

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

Discover your next great read here

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Hillbilly Elegy
    Hillbilly Elegy
    by J.D. Vance
    In this illuminating memoir, Vance recounts his trajectory from growing up a "hillbilly" in ...
  • Book Jacket: The Dark Flood Rises
    The Dark Flood Rises
    by Margaret Drabble
    Margaret Drabble, the award-winning novelist and literary critic who is approaching eighty and ...
  • Book Jacket: All Our Wrong Todays
    All Our Wrong Todays
    by Elan Mastai
    You need a great deal of time to read All Our Wrong Todays, but don't let that put you off. ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Atomic Weight of Love
by Elizabeth J. Church

In the spirit of The Aviator's Wife, this resonant debut spans from World War II through the Vietnam War.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Mercies in Disguise
    by Gina Kolata

    A story of hope, a family's genetic destiny, and the science that rescued them.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Lola
    by Melissa Scrivner Love

    An astonishing debut crime thriller about an unforgettable woman.
    Reader Reviews

Who Said...

Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see.

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Word Play

Solve this clue:

O My D B

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.

 
Modal popup -