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By Jim Crace

November, 1836. A fierce gale shores an American steamer off the English coast, injuring an African slave lower than decks and at last disgorging three hundred head of farm animals and an inn-ful of rowdy American sailors right into a hardscrabble fishing village. a similar hurricane drives into port a boat from London, bearing one Aymer Smith, the silly well-intentioned prig who will deprive the city of its livelihood, unfastened the yankee slave, and set into movement a complete sequence of unforeseeable, tragicomic occasions. selected by way of Publishers Weekly as the best books of 1995, indications of misery, Jim Crace's fourth novel, once more screens the author's reward for inventing richly unusual and plausible worlds that uncannily foretell our personal.

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I'll drive you to the train in the morning," Pastor Fosberg said. "The train leaves early. " The next morning Carl and Christina told the Fosbergs goodbye. Carl was grateful for the pleasant visit. Mr. Anderson was right; the Swedish people help each other in the new land. He waved as the train left for Central Texas. "Ah, Sister, the miracle is just beginning. We're starting our new life in Texas," Carl said happily as the train chugged through the countryside. He wanted to chat with his sister, but the noise of the engine made it difficult.

I'm a good Swedish cook," Mrs. Fosberg said. " When they sat down at the simple table, Carl thought of his mother in Sweden. He felt as if he were back in her kitchen. They ate white cheese, chicken, brown bread and of course, potatoes. They also drank plenty of milk. "I made an ostkaka for dessert," the woman said. " Christina exclaimed. " After eating the rich, cheesy custard, Carl and Christina Page 35 complemented Mrs. Fosberg's cooking. Pleased, she showed them the room they'd share that night.

In early April, the snow began to melt. Carl welcomed the mushy ground that kept his boots always muddy. He smiled as he saw the ice crack on the pond. The days became longer with more sunlight. With warmer weather coming, Carl thought of Walpurgis Night, the Swedish celebration that welcomed spring. At the end of April, he'd join others in his village to celebrate the event with a bonfire and a festival. He was looking forward to the event. One evening just before supper, Carl went into his room and sat down on his bed.

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