Salt Dancers

Salt Dancers

Ursula Hegi

Language: English

Pages: 240

ISBN: 0684844826

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Salt Dancers is at once a brilliant portrait of an American family, a story of the secrets families guard, and a moving account of one woman's journey back to a past filled with elusive memories and suppressed rage. Why did Julia's mother disappear one day without so much as a word? How did a loving father who taught her such a beautiful thing as the salt dance become such a terrifying and abusive presence? These are the questions which Julia must confront when she returns to Spokane, Washington, after an absence of twenty-three years.
Salt Dancers, a superbly written novel, is a poignant and truthful chronicle of self-discovery and the power of resurrection.

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was only resting and that, any moment, a friend might stop by. In the mornings my body would feel bruised, stiff. Eventually those dreams of my mother receded, but never entirely: like a pulse, they’d pick up again. Though they grew fainter over the years, I kept looking for her in airports, on fairgrounds, in movie theaters. As long as there was a chance that I could still find her someday, I felt linked to her as if the strands of our lives had formed a weave. I come across her someday, when I

like inside the cottage: the brown velvet couch with its back against the smaller window; three deep chairs around the fireplace; the oak table in the kitchen; red-bellied oil lamps on the mantel and table. I knew the pattern of the Persian rug would have worn deeper, but didn’t know—couldn’t know—how the place would enfold me until my father unlocked the door and we stepped inside and I couldn’t breathe in the familiar smell of dried lake water and cold ponderosa ashes. I shook the pack from my

if he’d asked me out. Whenever I’d fallen in love since then—even as an adult—I’d increased my water consumption, whispering my beloved’s name between gulps. I’d done it after I’d met Andreas at the Fackelparade, after Gil sat down next to me in my structural design class, after I was introduced to Jeff who restored churches, after Coop had taken my blood at the clinic, and I’d kissed each of them on exacdy the fourth day after the ritual. WHEN I opened the bathroom door, I followed the sound

them into the toilet; but even though I closed the lid before I flushed, I couldn’t stop myself from seeing them: They swirl down the porcelain basin, through the pipes below the cottage, and into the guts of the earth. Tomorrow—I promised myself—tomorrow I’d buy new fish. But first I’d clean the tank for them. The water was cloudy with miniature turds that formed a scummy residue inside the glass. Arms crossed, I lay on the bed now and stared at the tank—long since empty—until my eyes stung.

the glossy paper, I stared at a silver frame with a smiling eight-by-ten publicity shot of my father’s face, the face I’d been waiting to get away from all those years. Despite the actor’s smile, the expression had something unsettling about it—a mixture of sorrow and confusion. I laid the picture facedown on top of the shelves next to the door. My father turned. Grabbed two of my suitcases. I followed him with my backpack and the other suitcase. Silently we stashed everything in the trunk of

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