Monday, May 27, 2013

"Son of Destruction"

Kit Reed's books include a new novel, Son of Destruction and The Story Until Now: A Great Big Book of Stories, which features some Reed classics as well as her personal favorites over several decades, including six new stories, never before collected.

She applied the Page 69 Test to Son of Destruction and reported the following:
Would a reader skimming that page be inclined to read on? I think so. No allusion to spontaneous human combustion, which is at the center of the novel, but a representative slice of "society" in Fort Jude, Florida, where these human fires take place.
God damn Davis, he lit up like it was Christmas morning. "Great, I'll need the weekend to pack. Do you want to me to pick up cartons or can I borrow the roller bags?"

I'm glad Steffie crashed into the kitchen just then, before I screamed at him. She thumped through the Florida room in a panic, calling, "Mom?" like the world was ending. "Dad?" She tumbled into the living room with her hair gone wild and when she saw us facing off, all hostile and stony, she stopped cold, and I can't tell if she was disappointed, or just surprised "Oh! You're all right."

"Steffy!" And we tried so hard to keep her out of this. "Honey, of course we are."

"I was so scared!"

She looked so stricken that, forgive me, I yelled at her. "Well, get a grip!"

And God damn Davis, he just blinked, sticky sweet and bland as custard pie. "Scared, honey? Tell Daddy what you're afraid of."

What do you think she's afraid of, you sniveling cheat. I was furious at Davis, but that's not who I hurt. "Go upstairs and get decent. You look like shit!" She ran out sobbing even though I called after her, trying to make it right. "I bought you a great dress. Carter's coming to the party, Sallie made him swear."

Now she's upstairs, crying in the tub.

Davis let loose as soon as she cleared the room. At least she didn't have to hear her dad swearing and slamming as he stomped out through the Florida room and drove away. That's the beauty of central air. We're sealed up tight against heat and street noises and outside interference of any kind.

Except Bobby, waiting for somebody to answer the bell. I have to to wipe my hand across my face and go to the door with a smile. Live in this town long enough and you learn how to do that in seconds, bump up the rheostat so nobody knows what just happened or how bad it was, and I will be charming. "Bobby?"

"No Ma'am." Who is this lovely man? Look at him! Good-looking in a blurred, messed-up kind of way, with such a hopeful grin that you just know he's OK. I come to the door a walking shipwreck, and here he is on my doorstep, like a gift. "Mrs. McCall?"

"Nenna. It’s short for Genevieve." As if we're already friends.

"I'm Dan. Your daughter left her backpack and I..." He hands it off like a calling card.

"Oh, you must be from the school."
He takes a little bit too long to answer but that's OK...
Learn more about the author and her work at Kit Reed's website.

My Book, The Movie: Son of Destruction and The Story Until Now.

Writers Read: Kit Reed.

--Marshal Zeringue