The Tin Can Tree: A Novel (1st Ballantine Books trade ed)
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In the small town of Larksville, the Pike family is hopelessly out of step with the daily rhythms of life after the tragic, accidental death of six-year-old Janie Rose. Mrs. Pike seldom speaks, blaming herself, while Mr. Pike is forced to come out of his long, comfortable silence. Then there is ten-year-old Simon, who is suddenly without a baby sister -- and without understanding why she's gone.
Those closest to this shattered family must learn to comfort them -- and confront their own private shadows of hidden grief. If time cannot draw them out of the dark, then love may be their only hope....
materialized—he caught a fold of lace out of the corner of his eye—but he didn’t look at her. “Well, now!” Mrs. Hammond said brightly. She was out of breath and looked anxious. She came around in front of him and went to stand where Miss Hattie had stood, with her eyes intent on the ground, as if by tracking down the print of Miss Hattie’s Wedgies she could suddenly come to some understanding of her. “I’m sure it’ll come out good,” she called over her shoulder. “Well.” “What’s that?” “Yes,
down beside Ansel. “Listen,” he said. Away from outsiders now, Ansel slumped back in his seat and let his shoulders sag. There were tired dark marks underneath his eyes; he hadn’t slept well. “You’re on my couch,” he said automatically. “Do I have to tell you, James? Sitting like that makes the springs go wrong.” “Simon’s folks are still on the hill,” said James. “We’ve got to keep him here; I promised Joan he wouldn’t sit in that house alone.” “Ah, sitting alone,” Ansel said. He sighed.
how they had got all wilted. I thought: I wisht I’d brought some flowers. I thought: I wisht I’d brought some bluets. You listening, James?” James gritted his teeth and stayed quiet. “There’s four names for bluets I know of. Bluets, Quaker-ladies, pea-in-the-paths, and wet-the-beds. You can count on Janie Rose; she called them wet-the-beds. Well, she had problems herself in that line. But what I thought was: I wisht I’d brought some bluets. I didn’t think: I wisht I’d brought some
filled the whole room, and when he opened the oven he thought it looked done. From a hook on the wall he took a pot-holder and then hauled the pizza out and set it on the counter, burning one finger on the way. “Ansel!” he called. He came to the living room doorway. Ansel was just bending over a picture, rocking slightly back and forth and frowning at it, and Simon was sorting through the rest of them. “Ansel,” James repeated. “This one here,” said Ansel, “ought not to’ve been included.” “Which
promised. “The mornings after parties,” she said, “Miss Lucy and I cut these out and mount them. Don’t we, Lucy? We talk over the parties as we cut.” “I think we should take a picture,” said Simon. “A what?” “A picture. A photograph. With a camera.” He took a swallow of wine. “Sixteen,” said his mother, still counting. “I know. James could take it when you’re done with Joan there. Me in my shirt that I ran away in. Everybody else standing around.” “Cameras are all very well,” Miss Faye