Sunday, February 15, 2009

Web of Secrets

Web of Secrets, a novel by Denise Harris.
This is a deep and powerful novel and Harris skillfully draws us into the world of this family. Her great powers of observation and analysis shine through clearly, and leave the reader with plenty to think about throughout this very polished book.

Excerpt from Chapter Nine
My mother has just left the room. She was quite irritated with me, says I have become very secretive. That I was once a very open child but lately I have taken on a very secretive attitude. I don't tell her things any more. I'm not sure what things she means. Anyway, that's what she said. Not a bit like Guy and Adrienne... they talk with her, particularly Guy. He tells her things, I know that. Things she seems very pleased with. Like his coming first every year at school and studying so hard. I heard her say one day to Aunt Eileen that he makes up for much of what she's been through.

Now she calls me secretive, but she has never told me what she's been through. For instance, I didn't tell her about the story I wrote which my teacher was very pleased with. My mother only found out by chance through her friend. She said she felt very embarrassed, almost stupid, standing there and not knowing what Mrs. Rodway was speaking about. 'What was there to hide?' she asked me. Why couldn't she see what I had written? I'll tell you why... I don't mind. Not because I like talking about it. Granny Irma's always telling me to watch my mouth as it'll get me into trouble one of these days. Well, anyway, in case you haven't noticed, in the six months and two days you've been here, Arabella - you see I'm still counting - six months and two days you came out of the bush to stay here, six months and two days and you still haven't said a word. Granny Irma says you can speak, that I'm not to take you at face value. She says if I spend enough time with you you will learn but I need patience and time. Anyway, I'm sure you've noticed by now that this is a house full of secrets, what with all I've been telling you. Rose said as usual that I'm too fast, and I'm going to get in trouble because of that fastness.

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