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You Are One of Them

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You Are One of Them Cover

 

 

Excerpt

We went swimming that afternoon, and I can still remember my first glimpse of Jenny underwater. We sank beneath the surface in unison and sat cross-legged in a breath-holding contest on the bottom of the pool. She wore a canary yellow bathing suit and green goggles and I could see her eyes open wide and staring at me, her rival. I forced my eyes open despite the sting of chlorine. From above, the pool looked glassy and hard, a surface that must be broken with force, but below, it was soft and beckoning, a membrane through which light sieved like sugar. The sunlight webbed across Jennys skin and through her hair, giving it a reddish tint. Suddenly, she stuck out her tongue. My laughter forced me up for air. “I win!” Jenny announced as she triumphed from below.

Mrs. Jones asked about my family. What did my dad do, she wanted to know.

“He lives in London,” I said.

“London, England? Gosh, thats far away,” she said.

“Theyre divorced,” I said. And though divorce was not uncommon in our Washington circles, Mrs. Jones looked shocked. I liked her innocence: troubled thoughts rushed across her face like clouds and were gone just as quickly. She was a clear sky.

“What about your mom? What does she do?”

“She works for nuclear disarmament,” I said.

It was only after my father left that my mother had begun to worry about nuclear war. The good thing was that she started leaving the house to attend disarmament meetings. She got over her fear of the dark so that she could turn our basement into a fallout shelter. She mapped out scenarios, calculating the reach of the radioactive fallout if the blast hit Kansas City, say, or Washington. She drew ominous red circles in our Rand-McNally to mark the circumference of destruction. At the kitchen table, the hanging lamp created a tunnel of light under which she envisioned doom. Shed press her slide rule across swaths of U.S. territory.

I liked to flip the atlas to the Soviet Union, its borders drawn in a muted red. I couldnt even fit the top of my pinkie inside Luxembourg, but could press both of my palms onto the Soviet sprawl. The Russians fascinated me. My mother and I watched clips of Brezhnev on the evening news—his chest clotted with medals, his eyebrows bristling under his fur hat—but it was ordinary Russians I was curious about. Moscow, as the capital of the other Superpower, struck me as Washingtons twin. Was there an eight-year-old girl somewhere in Moscow whose sister had also died, whose father had also left?

Product Details

ISBN:
9781594205286
Author:
Holt, Elliott
Publisher:
Penguin Press
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Edition Description:
Hardback
Publication Date:
20130531
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Grade Level:
from 12
Language:
English
Pages:
304
Dimensions:
8.25 x 5.5 in 1 lb
Age Level:
from 18

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Related Subjects

Featured Titles » Literature
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » Debut Fiction

You Are One of Them Used Hardcover
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Product details 304 pages Penguin Press - English 9781594205286 Reviews:
"Review" by , "Intimate and intelligent, You Are One of Them is a surprising story of friendship and loss, but also a meditation on history and a reminder of how global events can reverberate through the smallest moments of ordinary lives."
"Review" by , “Elliott Holt is not just a promising writer, but a great writer. She's young, and sh'es a master. I was going to write that You Are One of Them could've been written by an Alice Munro or a Susan Minot, but that would be wrong. Because this book could only have been written by Elliott Holt, whose powerful new voice is her own.”
"Review" by , “Elliott Holt's debut novel You Are One Of Them reads with the heartbreaking ring of truth to it as she deftly taps a well of feeling that is at once primal, archetypical and deeply personal. Through the character of Sarah, Holt explores the indelible stain of grief, a child's desire for détente, and the inescapable awareness of the life that could have been but wasn't. Holt's ability to unwind the dangerous power of secrets and to blend fact and fiction, past and present, make for an evocative journey that circles around to illustrate how far we sometimes have to travel in order to find the self that was there all along.”
"Review" by , “Elliott Holt has done something utterly amazing. Through the experiences of Sarah Zuckerman, the fantastic and complicated narrator of You Are One of Them, Holt shows us a genuine and heartfelt coming of age story that so convincingly reveals the deceptions and half truths of growing up. I have rarely seen such a thought-provoking and engrossing portrayal of how our experiences shape us and, consequently, those we most love. This is an eloquent, startling novel and Elliott Holt is a fearless writer.”
"Review" by , You Are One of Them journeys through the U.S. and Russia, perfectly capturing that frightening time in the 1980s when every child went to bed dreaming of mushroom clouds. Like the cold war, this remarkable novel revolves around hidden truths and unreliable friendships. Elliott Holt skillfully draws out her characters secrets, exploring the different ways we open and close our hearts, and delivering a well-wrought tale of international and emotional intrigue.”
"Review" by , “The great accomplishment in You Are One of Them is how effortlessly the vast and global mixes with — and informs — the deeply felt story of a lost friendship. Elliott Holt is graceful, sharp and super-smart, and her novel is a bildungsroman for the atomic age.”
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