- Book Beginnings on Fridays hosted by Rose City Reader, where bloggers share the first sentence or more of a current read, as well as initial thoughts about the sentence(s), impressions of the book, or anything else that the opening inspires.
- The Friday 56 hosted by Freda's Voice, where you grab a book and turn to page 56 (or 56% of an eBook), find one or more interesting sentences (no spoilers), and post them.
Today I'm featuring an upcoming read, Mercy Street by Jennifer Haigh. The excerpts shared are from a library copy of the novel.
It's hard to know, ever, where a story begins. We touch down in a world fully inhabited by others, a drama already in progress. By the time we make our entrance--incontinent and screaming, like dirty bombs detonating--the climax is a distant memory. Our arrival is not the beginning; it is a consequence.
Page 56: Deb said, "He shouldn't have done that."
Claudia waited for her to say more, but there was no more. Her mother reached for the remote and clicked through the channels.
"He's gone now," Deb said. "He won't bother you again."
My thoughts: With a woman's right to choose and Roe v. Wade under constant attack, I look forward to reading this timely novel.
For almost a decade, Claudia has counseled patients at Mercy Street, a clinic in the heart of the city. The work is consuming, the unending dramas of women in crisis. For its patients, Mercy Street offers more than health care; for many, it is a second chance.
But outside the clinic, the reality is different. Anonymous threats are frequent. A small, determined group of anti-abortion demonstrators appears each morning at its door. As the protests intensify, fear creeps into Claudia's days, a humming anxiety she manages with frequent visits to Timmy, an affable pot dealer in the midst of his own existential crisis. At Timmy's, she encounters a random assortment of customers, including Anthony, a lost soul who spends most of his life online, chatting with the mysterious Excelsior11--the screen name of Victor Prine, an anti-abortion crusader who has set his sights on Mercy Street and is ready to risk it all for his beliefs.
Mercy Street is a novel for right now, a story of the polarized American present. Jennifer Haigh has written a groundbreaking novel, a fearless examination of one of the most divisive issues of our time.