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1 Remote Warehouse Literature- A to Z

Madapple

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ISBN13: 9780375851766
ISBN10: 0375851763
Condition: Standard
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Excerpt

Gnaphalium

Life Everlasting

Bethan, Maine October 1987

The women resemble schoolgirls with gangly limbs, ruddy cheeks, plaited flaxen hair; they walk holding hands. Yet the older of the two is pregnant; her unborn baby rides high and round. And the younger womans left foot scratches a path through the leaves. She seems comfortable with her limp, accustomed to it.

A child darts before them, chasing leaves that swirl at her feet. Her dark hair, tied back in a scant tail, whips behind her. She stumbles, catches herself. “Mor!” she calls out. “Mommy!” Then she points at a bird perched high on a leafless branch, its plump breast berry-like against the low sky.

The older woman hesitates before she recalls the birds name. “A robin. The bird is a robin. Soon it will fly south for the winter. It is too cold here in Maine.”

“Men det er ikke koldt. But it is not cold.” The childs words are malformed; she is not yet three.

“Ikke for Danmark,” the woman says. “Not for Denmark. And certainly not for you, but you are not a robin.”

The robin jerks its head to the side, then back, before it takes flight.

“The robin was looking at you,” the child says to the woman with the limp, not her mother. “He wanted to know your name.”

“Im Moster Maren, little Sanne. Aunt Maren. Have you already forgotten?”

“Yes!” The child laughs and sprints forward; her laugh is discordant, but the wind carries the sound away, and the woman, Maren, is grateful.

“Sanne reminds me of you when you were small,” the childs mother says to Maren. “Do you recall what Fader called you? Gnaphalium, remember? That plant known at home as ‘life everlasting. You were so full of life.”

Maren stops walking.

“What is it, Maren?”

“Dont go back to Denmark, Sara. Stay here with me. Please. Your marriage is ending—you know that. And with Moders death, theres little keeping you. And I can help you. Well help each other.”

Sara frees her hand from Marens grip. “Fader is still in Denmark. And I told you before, I dont need your help.”

“Yes, Fader,” Maren says. She reaches toward a plant and runs her index finger along a scar on the fleshy rhizome of the plant. “Solomons seal. This plants name is Solomons seal. See, the mark here. It resembles the seal of King Solomon, the Star of David—the symbol Solomon used to cast away demons, summon angels.”

Sara lifts Marens hand from the stalk and turns Maren toward her. “Tell me whats wrong,” Sara says. “This isnt about me. Why did you ask us to come? You said you were leaving Denmark to start a new life, but now you want to bring your life in Denmark with you here?”

“I want you here. And Sanne. And your new baby,” Maren says.

“But why? What is wrong? Is it something about Fader?”

“Dont tell Fader.”

“Dont tell Fader what, Maren?”

“Im pregnant, too.”

“Mor!” the little girl calls out. “Løb efter mig, Mor!” Sanne runs down the path; trampled leaves cling to her scarf and hair. “Chase after me, Mommy!”

“You are pregnant?” Sara says, but she looks at her daughter and the gray sky and the leaves.

“Dont be angry with me—” Maren says.

But Sara interrupts. “I didnt even know you knew about such things.” She is fondling her own hands as her eyes search Sannes hands, but Sannes hands are a blur. “Youre so young, Maren. Maybe youre mistaken.”

“Im a robin.” Sannes arms stretch wide. “I can fly!”

“Im almost sixteen,” Maren says. “Im not that young.”

“But youve been in the States for less than two months. How could this happen in such a short time?”

“Im four months pregnant,” Maren says. “Three months less than you. I was pregnant before I arrived.”

“Mor,” Sanne says. “Im flying away. Im flying south.”

Sara wraps her arms around herself and begins walking again, toward Sanne. She can see Sannes hands better now: her fingers splayed, and those two webbed fingers not splayed. And she wonders. And then she says, “Before you arrived? But how can that be? I didnt even know you had a lover. Ive been like a mother to you since Moder died. How could you have not told me?”

“I didnt know.”

“Didnt know?”

“I didnt know I was pregnant. I found out the day I asked you to come.”

“But you knew youd been with someone. You had a lover, Maren. And you didnt tell me.”

“Ive flown away, Mor.” Sanne has reached the end of the path. “Im gone forever.”

“But I didnt have a lover,” Maren says. “Ive never had a lover.”

Solomons Seal

2007

—Please state your name for the record.

—Aslaug.

—And your last name?

—I dont know.

—You dont know your last name?

—No.

—Your mothers name was Maren Hellig, was it not?

—Yes.

—You are Aslaug Hellig?

—Mother called me Aslaug Datter.

—So your last name is Datter?

—No. I mean, I dont know. Datter means “daughter” in Danish. Im not sure its my name.

—What was your fathers name?

—I dont have a father.

—You dont know who your father is?

—I dont have a father, other than the one we share.

—You mean God in heaven?

—I never said God is in heaven.

—But you mean God, am I right?

—Yes.

—Well, Im referring to your biological father. You dont know who he is?

—I dont have a biological father.

—Your Honor, the witness is being nonresponsive. Shes being tried here for one count of attempted murder and two counts of murder in the first degree, and shes playing games—

—Do you have a birth certificate for the witness, Counsel? It seems that document may clarify this matter.

—She has no birth certificate, Your Honor. At least none weve found.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

brittani, January 17, 2009 (view all comments by brittani)
With a captivating and poetic voice, this novel is amazing. The usage of combining religious beliefs and fact about botany, it actually works. I found Aslaug's story to be both interesting and inspirational. I couldn't put this book down!
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(4 of 6 readers found this comment helpful)

Product Details

ISBN:
9780375851766
Author:
Meldrum, Christina
Publisher:
Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers
Author:
Christina Meldrum
Subject:
General
Subject:
Miracles
Subject:
Trials (Murder)
Subject:
Social Issues - General
Subject:
Mothers and daughters
Subject:
General Juvenile Fiction
Subject:
Situations / Physical & Emotional Abuse
Subject:
Children s Young Adult-Social Issue Fiction-General
Subject:
Children s Young Adult-Social Issue Fiction
Publication Date:
20080531
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Grade Level:
from 9
Language:
English
Pages:
416
Dimensions:
8.16x5.98x1.35 in. 1.15 lbs.
Age Level:
14-17

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Related Subjects

Children's » Situations » General
Children's » Situations » Physical and Emotional Abuse
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Young Adult » General

Madapple Used Hardcover
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$9.95 In Stock
Product details 416 pages Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers - English 9780375851766 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Theology is on trial in this extraordinary first novel, which alternates between courtroom transcripts and a first-person account by the heroine, Aslaug, prosecuted for murders allegedly committed when she was 15. Carefully peeling back the facts entered in court, Meldrum lyrically describes Aslaug's isolated upbringing by the solitary Maren, a Danish polymath who educates Aslaug in science and languages — and in the medicinal value of the plants they collect near their Maine home; as Aslaug's story begins, Maren retreats into the hallucinatory powers of jimsonweed, or madapple, and dies without telling Aslaug the identity of her father. Flung into the contemporary world, Aslaug finds Maren's sister, a charismatic preacher, and her children, then hears explosive secrets about her conception, including Maren's claim never to have had a lover. Before long, Aslaug, too, is pregnant, and struggling to piece together her cousins' conflicting views of Maren's research into virgin births and pre-Christian messiahs. The author's timing is impeccable: her courtroom revelations advance the narrative while altering readers' perceptions of events, and Aslaug's ruminations force readers to question all they take in. Audiences will need some intellectual mettle for the densely seeded ideas, but they won't be able to stop reading. Ages 14 — up." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Synopsis" by , Addictive, thought-provoking, and shocking, this debut novel is a page-turning exploration of human nature and divine intervention--and of the darkest corners of the human soul.
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