Take One Candle Light a Room: A Novel
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
A WASHINGTON POST BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR
From the author of A Million Nightingales (“a writer of exceptional gifts and grace”—Joyce Carol Oates) comes a luminous new novel about the forces that tear families apart and the ties that bind them together.
Fantine Antoine is a travel writer, a profession that keeps her happily away from her Southern California home. When she returns to mark the fifth anniversary of the murder of her closest childhood friend, Glorette, she finds herself pulled into the tumultuous life of Glorette’s twenty-two-year-old son—and Fantine’s godson—Victor. After getting involved in a shooting, Victor has fled to New Orleans. Together with her father, Fantine follows Victor, determined to help him avoid the criminal future that he suddenly seems destined for. On this journey her father will reveal the wrenching secrets of his past, and Fantine will be compelled to question the most essential choices she’s made in her life.
he was catchin a ride to the Quarter.” I went across the grass—the buildings curved, I saw now, like the famous town houses in Bath. Claudine sat on Inez’s porch in a metal chair, holding the baby a little awkwardly. “Here,” I said quickly, thinking of the stent in her breast. The baby was solid and dense in my arms. She reared back and studied my face solemnly. Her eyes were black as polished hematite, and I waited for her to scream at my foreign status. But then she made up her mind and put
the cart read. No sentences formed themselves in my head. Not easy, not elegant, no descriptions, no narrative. Two men were boarding up an antique store with plywood. Another man was taping windows in an X with electrical tape. Juanita looked up at the sky. “I was four when Camille came through,” she said. “But I don’t remember it.” Napoleon House was in front of us. The cupola had shuttered windows, and when we crossed the street, I realized I’d seen this a hundred times in magazines. The
girls from across the river—Nero and Harlem and Bohemia. Them white Bordelon dead—all of em. But the rest of em stay here. You got two, three Picard. Only Antoine left is Aunt Monie. Her sister die, her mother die. Only your daddy. And he gone.” “Aunt Monie’s mother—that was Anjanae. She was so old when we came.” He nodded. “But her mother was Marie-Therese, and her mother was Moinette Antoine.” “Yeah, her mother. But not blood. She came out the woods.” I paused, confused. “The woods? What
my applications last year. But Grandpère was sick and I thought he was gonna die.” “He had pneumonia. I remember.” “You were in Belgium.” He turned toward me now. “I wrote the papers for Zelman. He said the same thing happened to him when he graduated, so he gave me fake deadlines. He called them artificial assignments, and he was gonna send off the Kool-Aid paper to some journal. But he left.” “He left the college?” He shook his head. “No. He got some grant to go to Brazil for a year and
under his hat. The mirages of puddle water were big as lakes ahead of the car. I hadn’t really slept for two days. I watched the heat gauge, and finally said to him, “I can’t tell if we have a problem or not.” He looked over and said, “Radiator. Open them window and turn on the heater. Tou fort.” All strength. The hot air blasted my face and arms, from inside and outside, until my body was covered with sweat and my eyes burned. It was like being in a small metal hell, surrounded by a larger