Excerpt from Breath and Bones by Susann Cokal, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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

Breath and Bones

A Novel

by Susann Cokal

Breath and Bones by Susann Cokal X
Breath and Bones by Susann Cokal
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    May 2005, 416 pages
    May 2006, 400 pages

  • Rate this book

Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse Review Team

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt

Breath and Bones

Susann Cokal

This little book treats of delicate subjects,
and has been sent to you only by request.
It is not intended for indiscriminate reading,
but for your own private information.

To three generations of Familjeflickor

           Tove Rasmussen
                        Gunver Hasselbalch
                                   Krishna Cokal
                                               Gry Hasselbalch

Altid med de bedste hensigter.

Beauty like hers is genius.
- Dante Gabriel Rossetti


- Hygeia Springs, or Hygiene: 26.2 miles from the western (narrow gauge) rail terminus at Harmsway, with tracks presently being extended to the village itself. It is halfway up the mountain and so situated as to promote respiratory hygiene and health, with picturesque scenery on every side. The hospital building was erected at a cost of $80,000 and is not equaled by any other such institution in the West; thus for the last half-decade it has rivaled the nearby gold mines in its contributions to the region’s prosperity. The visitor may enjoy the naturally carbonated spring waters or tour the small but none the less distinguished gallery of paintings, privately owned and free to the public on the first Monday of each month. Of several good hotels, the Celestial is the best.

—Frederick E. Shearer, The Pacific Tourist, revised edition, 1892

The cemetery seemed to roll on for miles, its plinths and statues struggling through the folds of a hillside thinly dusted white. A strange situation for a house of art, the widow thought; but these graves, like the mine tailings on the mountain below or the crenellated fortress above, were nothing to her.

Two men met her at the fortress door. One was tall and raw and bony, with a disturbing stripe of pink scalp showing, as if he had been attacked by savages. His hands, also, were knotted with scar tissue, white ridges and mountains straining against the bones beneath. The other man, just slightly shorter, wore silken gloves, as if to say his own hands would do no more work on this earth; from his dark spectacles and blank expression, she surmised that he was blind. She did not ask their names, and they did not need to ask hers. She already knew the tall man, knew he was of her native country. She could speak as she wished, and he would translate.

"We are honored. "The blind man spoke English, but quite clearly. "Thank you for traveling all this way. "

"It was my husband’s wish. "She saw no need to pretend she was glad of it—though she was very glad finally to be unburdening herself of the crate and its contents. "Your drivers are opening the box now. "

The taller man translated for the blind one, then turned back to her.

"Would you like to see where it will hang?" he asked, and she supposed she would.

There were four rooms to the gallery, each one feebly seeping light through narrow windows. The first two were crowded, with pictures hung nearly floor to ceiling and some of the frames knocking against each other.

Excerpted from Breath and Bones© Susann Cokal. Published by Unbridled Books. All rights reserved

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: Winter
    by Ali Smith
    "God was dead; to begin with." This first sentence of Winter perfectly sets up the dreamy journey ...
  • Book Jacket: A Land of Permanent Goodbyes
    A Land of Permanent Goodbyes
    by Atia Abawi

    When you're a refugee, everyone has lost, at least for the time being... And the journey ...

  • Book Jacket: Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions
    Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions
    by Mario Giordano
    Munich matron and self-described worldly sophisticate, Isolde Oberreiter, has decided to retire to a...
  • Book Jacket: Eat the Apple
    Eat the Apple
    by Matt Young
    Truth is stranger than fiction. Matt Young's memoir tackles the space in between truth and ...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions
    by Mario Giordano

    A charming, bighearted novel starring Auntie Poldi, Sicily's newest amateur sleuth.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Sometimes I Lie
    by Alice Feeney

    This brilliant psychological thriller asks: Is something a lie if you believe it's the truth?
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win The Balcony

The Balcony
by Jane Delury

A century-spanning novel-in-stories of a French village brimming with compassion, natural beauty, and unmistakable humanity.


Word Play

Solve this clue:

One N U G

and be entered to win..

Books that     

 & 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.