Craze's sequel to By the Shore is again told by the now teenage May, the levelheaded London girl coping with little brother Eden and wayward mother Lucy. When Lucy's partner, Simon (depicted in By the Shore as May's biological father but not Eden's), heads to India to buy goods for his London shop, Lucy heads to a California ashram, taking the siblings with her. There, all three's hunger for love and approval leaves them vulnerable to exploitation. While Lucy works on her troubles with the guru, Parvati, May becomes involved with Sati, a seductive young woman whom Parvati favors. May often lacks some of the sharpness of observation and tone that makes By the Shore so winning (particularly in the characterizations of fraud Parvati), but the scenes with Sati are frank and wonderful. (July)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Tiger, Tigerby Galaxy Craze
In the serene, sunbathed California landscape, Lucy, May, and Eden begin to believe that this new country
Lucy has always had a volatile marriage, one marked with frequent splits and reconciliations. So when she takes her two young children, May and Eden, and walks out on her husband, no one expects it will be for good. Until she flees England for America.
In the serene, sunbathed California landscape, Lucy, May, and Eden begin to believe that this new country might offer them a chance to reconnect. But when they settle in the Parvati Ashram, what first seemed idyllic threatens to sever their already tenuous family ties.
Like most outsiders, May views the ashram as a cult, but her mother sees it as a place of healing and salvation. As Lucy is taken deeper into the confidence of their leader, May’s initial defenses are broken down by her friendship with the manipulative proselyte, Sati. Thoughts of England slowly begin to disappear as they settle into their new reality, where blind faith challenges human decency, testing the family’s loyalties and asking if a less-than-perfect but real life is better than a vacuous ideal.
With Tiger, Tiger, Craze explores the power and limitations of human desperation, hope, and resolve as she proves that true completeness does not come from the outside, but from within
Craze's sequel to her debut novel, By the Shore, outlines with mixed results the further adventures of flighty Lucy and her befuddled children, May and Eden. After yet another marital tiff, Lucy flees to a religious commune in California, dragging the children with her. Life with the charismatic guru Pavarti is peaceful at first, but as problems gradually arise, May becomes less and less sure that her family is headed in the right direction. Readers who enjoy problem novels will appreciate the pathos and poignancy with which Craze depicts the angst-ridden May, who serves as the poster child for what can go wrong for a teen without responsible parents. However, the lack of character development may frustrate some readers, as the family drifts from crisis to crisis, seemingly learning nothing. If, however, Craze is trying to make a statement about some people's inability to learn from their mistakes, she executes it beautifully, with heartfelt language and strong imagery. An interesting effort but recommended only for the largest fiction collections. [See Prepub Alert, LJ3/15/08.]
Leigh Anne Vrabel
- Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
- Publication date:
- Sold by:
- Barnes & Noble
- NOOK Book
- File size:
- 2 MB
Read an Excerpt
By Galaxy Craze Black Cat
Copyright © 2008 Galaxy Craze
All right reserved.
Chapter One The last time my mother left my father, he was sitting at the kitchen table. "Simon," she said, "I'm leaving you." She stood by the front door with her winter coat on, holding Eden's hand. I stood beside them, looking down the hallway to the kitchen.
He stared at the cup of tea in front of him. Our mother turned the door handle and he looked up suddenly, as though startled by the sound of the latch. He sat at the table watching us leave, his mouth slightly open.
"Come on, May," my mother said, as I lingered in the doorway. I thought, I should look back; I should say good-bye to him. But when she called my name again, I followed her down the front steps.
She walked quickly down the street, her coat open and her breath visible in the cold morning air. In the fluster and rush, her handbag slipped from her shoulder and she stumbled on the pavement. "Hurry," she said, as though we were running for a train, as though someone were chasing us in the dark. It was Sunday morning, the street was empty and quiet, and our car was parked at the end of the road.
I thought, Soon we'll hear his footsteps running up behind us. Lucy, wait ... stop! Don't leave. What are you doing? But there were none.
While we sat in the car, waiting for the engine to warm, the front door of our house remained closed. With one hand on the steering wheel, my mother bither thumbnail. "He couldn't even be bothered to get up from the table and say good-bye," she said. "He was probably worried his tea would get cold."
The lorries sped by on the motorway. Water splashed from the wheels as they drove through puddles left over from last night's rain. Eden sat in the backseat, looking out the rear window. Mum glanced at him as she drove. "Are you all right back there?"
There was a nervous, quick sound in her voice. Eden turned away from the window. He looked as though he had just woken from a dream.
"All right, my darling?" she said, with a worried smile.
On the misted passenger-side window, I drew a simple house, a tree-then wiped it away with my sweater sleeve. Mum sighed, staring ahead at the road as she drove. Her mascara had fallen beneath her eyes, leaving dark shadows. She reached forward, turning the dial on the radio, but the stations came in filled with static and reports of rain.
In the shopping bag by my feet, she had packed sandwiches and a packet of digestive biscuits. Eden lay down under an old fur coat on the backseat. The leaves on the trees by the side of the road shone wet and green.
We stopped for lunch in Penrith in a village with a wishing well in the center. We drove through Carlisle and stopped at the Little Chef near Hadrian's Wall for a strawberry milk and ice lolly.
In Dunblane, we turned off the motorway, driving slowly along the streets of town and up a dirt road to a whitewashed house made of stone. My grandfather's house had a name: Caldhame.
Mum turned the engine off. She studied her reflection in the rearview mirror. She pulled out a crumpled tissue from her bag, spat on it, and tried to wipe the mascara from beneath her eyes.
Eden opened the car door. The cold air rushed inside to greet us. After the long drive, it did not feel like a relief to have finally arrived. Outside, I brushed the biscuit crumbs from my skirt, and they disappeared into the gravel road.
Grandfather came from the house in his raincoat and boots, his walking stick in his hand. He was a tall man, his hair almost white. He waved, smiling at us. We were hours late; the rain had been hard, the telephone at the rest station broken. His two dogs, black pugs, ran and leapt around us.
"Hello, Father," our mother said, as she leaned toward him, kissing him on his cheek. "You look well."
Eden gave Grandfather a hug. After a moment of looking awkward, unsure of where to put his arms, Grandfather patted Eden on the back. Eden let go, causing Grandfather to step backward, stumbling slightly. He watched Eden as he ran to the dogs, kneeling in the wet grass to play with them.
"I wouldn't if I were you," Grandfather called out to him. "They've just rolled in the remains of a dead bird."
Eden didn't hear-or didn't care-that the dogs smelled of dead bird. He lay down on the ground, encouraging them to jump all over him.
"Hello, young lady."
"Hello, Grandfather." My voice, a curtsy.
The air was cool and blowing sideways.
Grandfather took off his hat and held it in his hands. As a young man, he had fought in the war. He flew Mosquitoes and Spitfires in the Royal Air Force. When the war ended and he came home, one of the few survivors of the RAF, he was told that his two brothers had been killed. Grandfather had a fallen look in his eyes, even when he laughed and smiled, as though he had only recently heard the news of their deaths.
Inside the house, Mrs. Stirling, the daily, was boiling water for tea. Her cheeks were round and flushed. "Had a long journey? Terrible weather, isn't it. The sufferings for our sins. Anyway, at least there's tea on the table."
And there was tea on the table! Oaten biscuits on a plate, blue cheese, butter, scones, and blackberry jam. Even a yellow and chocolate layer cake. My stomach rumbled as I looked at the food, deciding what to try first.
At the table, our mother told Grandfather how well the furniture shop was doing. Lulu, a famous singer, had come in just the other day and spent over two hundred pounds, and Tatler was doing a write-up! "Not one of those awful pop singers?" Mrs. Stirling said.
"No," Mum said, a bite of scone crumbling into her cupped hand. "I think you would like her voice."
When she spoke about the shop, she spoke in a glossy, busy voice, as though she were dressed in a black suit, with straightened hair and red lipstick. Her hands flickered in the air; the small stone in her ring sparkled.
"I'm glad to hear it," Grandfather said. "Things are coming together for you two finally."
Then suddenly, as though exhausted by herself-the quick voice, the black suit, the sparkle on her ring too small to flame-our mother froze. She stopped speaking and looked up from the crumbs on her plate, from Grandfather to Eden to me, as though searching for someone to hold.
Grandfather looked at her in a peculiar way, as though he could not understand this change. "Lucy? Darling, whatever is the matter?"
Mum blew her nose into her napkin. She shook her head. "Nothing. Nothing's the matter."
Eden stared across the table at our mother crying into a napkin. A piece of yellow and chocolate layer cake lay half eaten on his plate. She wiped her eyes dry, but her voice shook when she spoke. "Oh, I'm sorry. I'm just tired, I think; that's all." She waved her hand in the air, as though trying to erase what had just happened. As though to say, Let's start over again.
She straightened herself in the chair.
"So, how have you been, Father?"
"Oh, fine, fine." Like the chime of a clock. He had never liked to talk about himself. "I sold the south field to the farmer down the road. He needed it for his sheep."
Mum nodded, twisting the tissue in her hand. Over the years he had sold off parcels of land, cutting them away like pieces of a cake. He had left his position at the bank and was a pensioner now, with a small added income from the outbuildings and the land he let.
"Is everything all right with you and Simon?" Grandfather asked cautiously, knowing this was usually the reason for our sudden visits.
Mum shook her head. "It's never all right for long." Grandfather reached for the handle of his teacup. He was a man, our mother had told us, who wanted peace in his life. The flat line of the green fields. His ex-wife, my mother's mother, Anne, was restless like my mother. She had grown bored with marriage, motherhood, and Scotland and left him for an American businessman. Our mother was only eight when her mother left her.
Lucy, Grandfather said, was like her mother. She could never settle into one place. Like a clock, always ticking with a low hum of dissatisfaction. Always looking for something else, something more, somewhere over there. Our mother wanted so much from the world, of love and happiness and other invisible things with wings.
"We had a row last night," our mother said. "On the street in front of the house. I'm afraid all the neighbors must have heard. At least I won't have to face them today."
"What about?" Grandfather asked.
"Oh, it's so stupid." She pressed her fingertips to her forehead. "We went out to a party, and on the way home I realized I had lost one of the earrings he'd given me for my birthday. I was sure it had fallen off on the street, because I remembered having them on when we left the party. So we went back to search for it, and he gets all upset, telling me I don't look out for the things I have ... and this means I don't really care...." Her voice faded, as though the ending would be written in the air.
I knew the earring she had lost. Our father had carried the stones back from Morocco in a tissue in his jeans pocket.
"So," she continued, "I tried to tell him he shouldn't get so upset over material things. It was just an earring. Well, he starts telling me I'm spoiled because I grew up not worrying about money ... the usual crap."
Grandfather looked at his hands on the table. His skin had become transparent with age. The dark blue veins, his wrist bones close to the skin. When he grew older, I thought, you would see inside of him.
"Why didn't you just apologize? Say you were sorry for losing the earring?"
Mum brought her hand to her chest, shocked by the suggestion. "Me, apologize? What for?"
"Why should I apologize? Earrings get lost all the time, every minute of the day." She shut her mouth quickly, as though trying to keep the next word in. "Actually, I was so furious I took off the other earring and threw it down the rain gutter."
"Lucy!" Grandfather said.
"Mum," I said.
She stared back at us. Her eyes shone, as though they were saying, Yes, I did it! I threw the earring down the rain gutter.
"Lucy." Grandfather sighed. "Why do you behave so childishly? So foolishly. Simon is your husband. Don't you want to have a nice life together instead of all this fighting?"
There was a time, at the beginning of their romance, when Grandfather hadn't been sure of our father. He would never have said it was because he came from the East End, from a family of bookmakers and fishmongers, or that the car he drove was flash. Over the years Grandfather began to like him-he had started a business, bought a house, had a family, and continued to love his wife. Our father was one of the few people who could make Grandfather laugh.
"Well, I always said, Simon is a wide boy," Mrs. Stirling announced.
"What's a wide boy?" Eden asked.
"Never you mind," Grandfather said, giving Mrs. Stirling a disapproving look while she busied herself wiping the counter.
Mrs. Stirling had been at Caldhame close to twenty-five years. She had been with them when Anne left-in a taxi to the station to catch the London train. She helped cook their meals when they had no appetites, sitting at the table in the quiet house, hoping she would come back. She tried to interest our mother in needlepoint and the Bible. After so many years at Caldhame, Mrs. Stirling said whatever was on her mind.
As we sat at the table, I thought of the earring Mum had thrown in the gutter, the turquoise stones sinking to the bottom of the drain. Lost there, beneath the city streets, among the cigarette ends and sweets wrappers. Would they ever be a pair again? If one were to wash up on a riverbank, on a seashore, if someone, a woman, walking by the water, were to find one, to see one, she might not even bother to touch it, pick it up, rescue it from the other stones on the shore. By then, it would be dark with city grime and faded and worn from the salt and waves.
Chapter Two Eden and I walked up the narrow flight of stone steps to the round room at the top of the house. "How can someone build a perfect circle when it's so hard to draw one?" Eden said, as he looked around the room.
The ceiling was as high and pointed as a witch's hat. Sometimes birds and mice found their way inside and built their nests in the rafters, dropping leaves and twigs on the floor.
A hundred years ago or more, the house was an inn, a cauld house, on the drove road from the Highlands. A battle had been fought here: the battle of Sheriffmuir. Mrs. Stirling swears she's seen the ghosts of soldiers in the fields below.
Eden found a model airplane kit he had brought the last time we were here. He opened the box, but the pot of glue had dried.
I took a book from the bookshelf. It was called The Perfect Daffodil by Petra Patterson. I sat down in the green armchair, looking at the pictures. In the back of the book was a library card, and the last name written on the card was Anne Bruce, dated 12 June 1964.
Occasionally, our grandmother Anne came to visit us in London. She brought us presents from America: a set of towels from Bloomingdale's, a necklace for me, and a box of Legos for Eden. She looked young for her age, well dressed; on the street and in the shops and restaurants, people thought she was my mother. When they made this mistake, she would never correct them.
You could see in her now, like a picture in a frame, her regrets over leaving her daughter when she was a young girl. They had never been close and they never would be. My mother would say, not kindly, that Anne was trying to win us over with presents.
She came to London with her American husband, the accountant. They were staying at Claridges. The hotel room had a separate dressing room, with a single bed, which was made by the maids every morning with crisp white sheets, tucked tightly in the corners. She invited me to stay with them in the hotel for the weekend and I said yes.
My grandmother sipped her tea, she buttered a scone from a silver tray, with a stitched-up look on her mouth. She had never understood her daughter, especially her taste in men. When she first met my father, she took my mother away on holiday, in hopes that she would forget about him.
My mother said she had never been warm or affectionate. My mother said she had waited in bed at night with the light on, hoping she would come to kiss her good night, to tuck her in. She remembered sitting alone in the hallway, waiting for her to come home, but by then her mother was already in America.
My grandmother told me that, if I wanted to, I could come and spend the summer with her in America. They had a house by the beach. I nodded, I said I wanted to. That day, in the hotel with my grandmother, I was a different girl: the daughter she wanted me to be. Sharpening the blade of the knife, as I lay in the hotel sheets, I practiced the lines I would say to my mother when I told her I was leaving for the summer. Maybe I would say it was for longer-the school year, the rest of my life.
My grandmother bought two tickets to the ballet. First, she said, I needed a haircut and a new dress. We went to Harrods, to have my hair cut, like hers, in a straight line below the chin. Afterward, we walked down Hennington Square to the dress shop.
In the dress shop, there was a knitted striped shirt and skirt, hanging from the rack. The yarn had pieces of silver and gold thread in it, making it shine. But there was another girl looking through the clothes rack in the store, and she took the dress into the dressing room.
The girl was a year or two younger than I was. She had thick eyebrows and long dark hair, and now that she had the dress behind the curtain I wanted it even more. Her mother wore a veil and held an armful of dresses she was buying for her. The girl came from the dressing room and said she wanted the gold and silver dress too.
We chose another dress, navy velvet with black trim, to wear to the ballet. I watched as the mother in the veil laid dress after dress on the counter, buying them all for her daughter.
My grandmother and I walked through Kensington. I held the shopping bag with the dress wrapped in tissue paper inside; my hair, just washed and blown dry, fell softly around my face. I looked at my reflection in the shop windows as I held my grandmother's hand. Now we were going to have lunch at Saint Ambrosia.
"It's not fair that the other girl got the dress I wanted. She was pudgy." I said, my voice like a kite, because today I was someone else.
"They were rich Arabs," my grandmother said. "It's quite vulgar to buy a young girl so many expensive dresses."
Excerpted from Tiger, Tiger by Galaxy Craze
Copyright © 2008 by Galaxy Craze. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
See all customer reviews