Before Women Had Wings (Ballantine Reader's Circle) by Connie May Fowler

By Connie May Fowler

My identify is Avocet Abigail Jackson. yet simply because Mama could not locate a person who notion Avocet was once a superb identify for a kid, she referred to as me chook. that is ok through me. She named either her young children after birds, her common sense being that if we have been named for anything with wings then possibly we would be able to fly above the shit in our lives. . . .                       So says chicken Jackson, the spell binding narrator of Connie might Fowler's brilliant and brilliantly written, earlier than ladies Had Wings.                       Starstruck by means of a dime-store photograph of Jesus, fowl fancies herself "His female friend" and embarks upon a non secular quest for salvation, whilst the chaos of her domestic lifestyles plunges her right into a stony silence. In stark and sincere language, she tells the tragic lifetime of her father, a sweet-talking wanna-be kingdom tune big name, tracks her older sister's perilous trip into womanhood, and witnesses her mom make a brave and eventually devastating decision.                      Yet such a lot profound is Bird's personal story--her fight to sift during the ashes of her mom and dad' lives, her assembly with leave out Zora, a healer whose prayers over the bones of winged creatures are supposed to advisor their souls to heaven, and her will to make experience of a global the place worry is extra abundant than wish, retribution extra valued than love. . . .                     "A factor of heart-rending attractiveness, a relocating exploration of affection and loss, violence and grief, forgiveness and redemption."           --Chicago Tribune                      "There isn't any denying the intensity of Connie may perhaps Fowler's expertise and the breadth of her imagination."           --The long island instances e-book Review                      "Brilliant."           --The Boston Sunday Globe

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Example text

Phoebe seemed unmoved by the rumbling sky. Just kept her eyes on the Chinese checkers game board and its perfect triangles filled with marbles of such luscious colors I wanted to eat them. But they wouldn't be sweet, no they wouldn't. Sister, she looked beautiful, staring down at the board, her face framed in shadows and cloud-spangled light. I thought, She would make the most perfect angel. I watched as she stretched over the board to flick off a fallen leaf. Underneath her thin cotton shell, I saw how fragile the bones in her back were, far too sliver-prone, far too light to support a pair of wings.

I heard the Impala's engine turn over and the car speed down the dirt road into the night. Then the music was suddenly gone, and moments later the bedroom door swung open. I hung on to a lock of Phoebe's hair, scared that we'd done something to earn a beating. " Mama asked gruffly. Phoebe and I played possum, not answering, not even breathing. Mama said, "If you're awake, you'd better say so. " We didn't move or make a peep. Mama shut the door. Phoebe whispered "bitch" into her pillow. As for me, I felt as if I were tumbling through a black and empty space.

Shush, girl," Mama said as she faced the window and watched Daddy peel out of the driveway. She picked up the phone. Its heavy black receiver looked too much like the revolver. Crows outside in the pecan tree started cackling. I ran over to Phoebe and threw my arms around her. Mama's voice spilled over me: "Yes, Chuck, this is Glory Marie. Billy's got a gun. Says he's going to shoot himself. Can you send an officer after him? He's headed north, toward town. Try Moccasin Branch. He's threatened before that if he ever killed himself it would be by the river.

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