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Son

by

Son Cover

 

 

Excerpt

ONE The young girl cringed when they buckled the eyeless leather mask around the upper half of her face and blinded her. It felt grotesque and unnecessary, but she didnt object. It was the procedure. She knew that. One of the other Vessels had described it to her at lunch a month before. "Mask?" she had asked in surprise, almost chuckling at the strange image. "Whats the mask for?" "Well, its not really a mask," the young woman seated on her left corrected herself, and took another bite of the crisp salad. "Its a blindfold, actually." She was whispering. They were not supposed to discuss this among themselves. "Blindfold?" she had asked in astonishment, then laughed apologetically. "I dont seem to be able to converse, do I? I keep repeating what you say. But: blindfold? Why?" "They dont want you to see the Product when it comes out of you. When you birth it." The girl pointed to her bulging belly. "Youve produced already, right?" she asked her. The girl nodded. "Twice." "Whats it like?" Even asking it, she knew it was a somewhat foolish question. They had had classes, seen diagrams, been given instructions. Still, none of that was the same as hearing it from someone who had already gone through the process. And now that they were already disobeying the restriction about discussing it—well, why not ask? "Easier the second time. Didnt hurt as much." When she didnt respond, the girl looked at her quizzically. "Hasnt anyone told you it hurts?" "They said ‘discomfort. " The other girl gave a sarcastic snort. "Discomfort, then. If thats what they want to call it. Not as much discomfort the second time. And it doesnt take as long." "Vessels? VESSELS!" The voice of the matron, through the speaker, was stern. "Monitor your conversations, please! You know the rules!" The girl and her companion obediently fell silent then, realizing they had been heard through the microphones embedded in the walls of the dining room. Some of the other girls giggled. They were probably also guilty. There was so little else to talk about. The process—their job, their mission—was the thing they had in common. But the conversation shifted after the stern warning. She had taken another spoonful of soup. Food in the Birthmothers Dormitory was always plentiful and delicious. The Vessels were all being meticulously nourished. Of course, growing up in the community, she had always been adequately fed. Food had been delivered to her familys dwelling each day. But when she had been selected Birthmother at twelve, the course of her life had changed. It had been gradual. The academic courses—math, science, law—at school became less demanding for her group. Fewer tests, less reading required. The teachers paid little attention to her. Courses in nutrition and health had been added to her curriculum, and more time was spent on exercise in the outdoor air. Special vitamins had been added to her diet. Her body had been examined, tested, and prepared for her time here. After that year had passed, and part of another, she was deemed ready. She was instructed to leave her family dwelling and move to the Birthmothers Dormitory. Relocating from one place to another within the community was not difficult. She owned nothing. Her clothing was distributed and laundered by the central clothing supply. Her schoolbooks were requisitioned by the school and would be used for another student the following year. The bicycle she had ridden to school throughout her earlier years was taken to be refurbished and given to a different, younger child. There was a celebratory dinner her last evening in the dwelling. Her brother, older by six years, had already gone on to his own training in the Department of Law and Justice. They saw him only at public meetings; he had become a stranger. So the last dinner was just the three of them, she and the parental unit who had raised her. They reminisced a bit; they recalled some funny incidents from her early childhood (a time she had thrown her shoes into the bushes and come home from the Childcare Center barefoot). There was laughter, and she thanked them for the years of her upbringing. "Were you embarrassed when I was selected for Birthmother?" she asked them. She had, herself, secretly hoped for something more prestigious. At her brothers selection, when she had been just six, they had all been very proud. Law and Justice was reserved for those of especially keen intelligence. But she had not been a top student. "No," her father said. "We trust the committees judgment. They knew what you would do best." "And Birthmother is very important," Mother added. "Without Birthmothers, none of us would be here!" Then they wished her well in the future. Their lives were changing too; parents no longer, they would move now into the place where Childless Adults lived. The next day, she walked alone to the dormitory attached to the Birthing Unit and moved into the small bedroom she was assigned. From its window she could see the school she had attended, and the recreation field beyond. In the distance, there was a glimpse of the river that bordered the community. Finally, several weeks later, after she was settled in and beginning to make friends among the other girls, she was called in for insemination. Not knowing what to expect, she had been nervous. But when the procedure was complete, she felt relieved; it had been quick and painless. "It that all?" she had asked in surprise, rising from the table when the technician gestured that she should. "Thats all. Come back next week to be tested and certified." She had laughed nervously. She wished they had explained everything more clearly in the instruction folder they had given her when she was selected. "What does ‘certified mean?" she asked. The worker, putting away the insemination equipment, seemed a little rushed. There were probably others waiting. "Once theyre sure it implanted," he explained impatiently, "then youre a certified Vessel. "Anything else?" he asked her as he turned to leave. "No? Youre free to go, then."   That all seemed such a short time ago. Now here she was, nine months later, with the blindfold strapped around her eyes. The discomfort had started some hours before, intermittently; now it was nonstop. She breathed deeply as they had instructed. It was difficult, blinded like this; her skin was hot inside the mask. She tried to relax. To breathe in and out. To ignore the discom—No, she thought. It is pain. It really is pain. Gathering her strength for the job, she groaned slightly, arched her back, and gave herself up to the darkness. Her name was Claire. She was fourteen years old.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780547887203
Author:
Lowry, Lois
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin
Author:
Lowry, Lois
Subject:
Children s-Adventure Stories
Subject:
Historical - Military & Wars
Edition Description:
Trade Cloth
Series:
Giver Quartet
Series Volume:
4
Publication Date:
20121031
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Grade Level:
from 7
Language:
English
Pages:
400
Dimensions:
8.25 x 5.5 in 1 lb
Age Level:
from 12

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Related Subjects


Children's » Action and Adventure » Adventure Stories
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Young Adult » New Arrivals

Son Used Hardcover
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$17.99 In Stock
Product details 400 pages Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) - English 9780547887203 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Drawing characters and themes from The Giver and its companions, Gathering Blue and Messenger, Lowry concludes her Giver Quartet nearly 20 years after the Newbery Medal — winning first book was published. The story is divided into three sections, and in the completely absorbing opening, Lowry transports readers back to the horrifying world from which Jonas came. The spotlight is on 14-year-old Claire, a Birthmother who is given an emergency Caesarean to save 'the Product.' The child survives, but Claire is coldly 'decertified' and sent to work elsewhere, mystified as to what happened to her and her baby. Those familiar with The Giver will feel the pieces fall into place as Claire figures out which Product is hers and tracks his progress. Part two details Claire's decade-long struggle to remember who she is, and it suffers slightly from having a main character afflicted with a well-worn plot device (amnesia); the final third reunites characters from all three previous novels for a showdown with evil incarnate. If the latter sections don't quite keep up with the thrilling revelations of the first, Lowry still ties together these stories in a wholly satisfying way. Ages 12 – up. (Oct.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Review" by , "Written with powerful, moving simplicity, Claire's story stands on its own, but as the final volume in this iconic quartet, it holistically reunites characters, reprises provocative socio-political themes, and offers a transcending message of tolerance and hope. Bravo!"
"Review" by , "Lowry is one of those rare writers who can craft stories as meaningful as they are enticing."
"Review" by , "Son is a tender conclusion to this memorable story, and definitely the best of the books in this sequence since The Giver itself."
"Review" by , "The strength of this novel is its compassionate portrait of a mother's commitment to her lost child."
"Review" by , "A consummate stylist, Lowry handles it all magnificently: the leaps in time, the shifts in perspective, the moments of extreme emotion — fear, joy, sadness — all conveyed in unadorned prose that seizes the heart. Give this book to your child, your grandmother, your senator, your neighbor: It's a bipartisan tale for our times."
"Review" by , "Lois Lowry's Son [is] a gripping end to the Giver series."
"Review" by , "It's the kind of book that will stay with you for days as you wonder about what it says about human nature, society, and the future of society."
"Review" by , "A quiet, sorrowful, deeply moving exploration of the powers of empathy and the obligations of love."
"Synopsis" by , The thrilling and long-awaited conclusion to the Giver Quartet.
"Synopsis" by , Son is the long-awaited and compelling conclusion to The Giver Quartet, a true sequel to Lowry's Newbery Medal-winning The Giver. Told in three separate storylines, Son ties the first three books of The Giver Quartet together — The Giver, Gathering Blue, and Messenger — into one breath-taking and thought-provoking story.

Thrust back into the dark, claustrophobic world of The Giver, we meet a compelling new heroine, fourteen year old Claire, and see another view of this dystopian community. We also meet Jonas from The Giver once again, and Kira, the heroine of Gathering Blue. In a final clash between good and evil, a new hero emerges.

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