Lunchtime Desk Read: All Woman and Springtime

It’s lunchtime. Are you eating at your desk? We all are here at Algonquin HQ in Chapel Hill. And nothing goes better with your sandwich than a side of book. Even better than a pickle and chips.

Today our sandwich side is All Woman and Springtime by Brandon W. Jones. Alice Walker said this debut novel is “one of the most absorbing, chilling, beautifully written, and important novels I’ve read in many years.”

Brandon is featured in Kobo’s New Voices in Fiction Spotlight today: “I firmly believe that any work of art is, on some level, a portrait of the artist or artist’s life, however far removed.”

Here’s a short excerpt from All Woman and Springtime:

Il-sun did not adjust well to life in the orphanage. She developed a reputation for being vindictive, sly and cunning in her abuses. Many girls tried to befriend her, but she shunned them all. She had been accustomed to better food, cleaner conditions, a doting mother, and more privacy… All that was gone now. Now she was a castoff, a throwaway, a burden to the Republic—an undesirable.

Her pique found its sharpest focus on one girl in particular, who had arrived at the orphanage under mysterious circumstances a few months after her. To Il-sun, Gyong-ho looked more like a half-starved rodent than a thirteen-year-old girl. She was a skeletal wisp with long arms and a lopsided posture. Her spine was twisted and her left arm hung lower than her right, as if she were perpetually carrying a heavy sack of rice over her shoulder… Il-sun had never seen a face before tha was completely blank, that showed absolutely nothing; but that was the only way to describe Gyong-ho’s face on the night of her arrival. She was empty, devoid of feeling—devoid of self—and that scared Il-sun.

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