Beasts and Children

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In the tradition of Lorrie Moore, Claire Vaye Watkins, and Rebecca Lee, this debut story collection cuts into the sometimes dark heart of the American family

From the tense territory of a sagging, grand porch in Texas to a gated community in steamy Thailand to a lonely apartment in nondescript suburbia, these linked stories unwind the lives of three families as they navigate ever-shifting landscapes. Wry and sharp, dark and subversive, they keep watch as these characters make the choices that will change the course of their lives and run into each other in surprising, unforgettable ways.

The Bowmans are declining Texas gentry, heirs to an airline fortune, surrounded by a patriarch's stuffed trophies and lost dreams. They will each be haunted by the past as they strive to escape its force. The Fosters are diplomats’ kids who might as well be orphans. Jill and Maizie grow up privileged amid poverty, powerless to change the lives of those around them and uncertain whether they have the power to change their own. The Guzmans have moved between Colombia and the United States for two generations, each seeking opportunity for the next, only to find that the American dream can be as crushing as it is elusive.

Amy Parker's debut collection considers--with an unfailingly observant eye--our failures and our successes, our fractures and our connections, our impact and our evanescence. She marks herself a worthy heir to the long tradition of smart women casting cool and careful glances at the American middle class.
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About the author

AMY PARKER was born in Okinawa, Japan, and spent most of her childhood on diplomatic and military compounds overseas. She returned to the United States after her high school graduation and attended Indiana University, where she studied comparative literature. She won a Michener fellowship in fiction from the University of Texas, Austin. Afterward, she spent four years doing intensive monastic practice at Tassajara Zen Mountain Center, the oldest Soto Zen monastery in the United States, and at Green Gulch Farm and Zen Center in Mill Valley, California. She received lay ordination in the Soto Zen lineage in 2007. She left the monastery for the Iowa Writers Workshop, from which she graduated in 2012. She lives in Wichita, Kansas with her son.

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Additional Information

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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Published on
Feb 2, 2016
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Fiction / Literary
Fiction / Short Stories (single author)
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“My God won’t let me do that.”

These seven words of boundless hope would irreversibly change the life of the teenage boy who spoke them.

On April 7, 1994 the life of Frederick Ndabaramiye and his family changed forever as the Rwandan genocide erupted in their homeland. When Frederick faced those same genocidaires a few years later, he noted the machete that hung from the right hand closest to him and wondered if his would soon be added to the layers of dried blood that clung to the blade. Either way, young Frederick knew that he wouldn’t be able to carry out the orders just given to him, to raise that blade against the other passengers of the bus, regardless of the race marked on their identity cards.

That bold decision would cause Frederick to lose his hands. But what the killers meant for harm, God intended for good. The cords that bound him served as a tourniquet, saving his life when his hands were hacked away. This new disability eventually fueled Frederick’s passion to show the world that disabilities do not have to stop you from living a life of undeniable purpose. From that passion, the Ubumwe Community Center was born, where "people like me" come to discover their own purposes and abilities despite their circumstances.

Through miraculous mercy and divine appointment, Frederick forgives those who harmed him and goes on to fully grasp his God-given mission. In this extraordinary true story of forgiveness, faith, and hope, you will be challenged, convicted, and forever converted to a believer of the impossible.

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Get ready for the ultimate Jack Reacher experience: a thrilling new novella and eleven previously published stories, together for the first time in one pulse-pounding collection from Lee Child.

No Middle Name begins with “Too Much Time,” a brand-new work of short fiction that finds Reacher in a hollowed-out town in Maine, where he witnesses a random bag-snatching but sees much more than a simple crime. “Small Wars” takes readers back to 1989, when Reacher is an MP assigned to solve the brutal murder of a young officer found along an isolated forest road in Georgia—and whose killer may be hiding in plain sight. In “Not a Drill,” Reacher tries to take some downtime, but a pleasant hike in Maine turns into a walk on the wild side—and perhaps something far more sinister. “High Heat” time-hops to 1977, when Reacher is a teenager in sweltering New York City during a sudden blackout that awakens the dark side of the city that never sleeps. Okinawa is the setting of “Second Son,” which reveals the pivotal moment when young Reacher’s sharp “lizard brain” becomes just as important as his muscle. In “Deep Down,” Reacher tracks down a spy by matching wits with four formidable females—three of whom are clean, but the fourth may prove fatal. Rounding out the collection are “Guy Walks into a Bar,” “James Penney’s New Identity,” “Everyone Talks,” “The Picture of the Lonely Diner,” “Maybe They Have a Tradition,” and “No Room at the Motel.”

No suitcase. No destination. No middle name. No matter how far Reacher travels off the beaten path, trouble always finds him. Feel bad for trouble.

Praise for No Middle Name
“Captivating . . . classic [Lee] Child . . . This volume demonstrates what his fans already know: he’s a born storyteller and an astute observer.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Lee Child, like his creation, always knows exactly what he’s doing—and he does it well. Time in his company is never wasted.”—Evening Standard
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY LOS ANGELES TIMES AND BUZZFEED • Taking place nearly a century before the events of A Game of Thrones, A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms compiles the first three official prequel novellas to George R. R. Martin’s ongoing masterwork, A Song of Ice and Fire. These never-before-collected adventures recount an age when the Targaryen line still holds the Iron Throne, and the memory of the last dragon has not yet passed from living consciousness.
Before Tyrion Lannister and Podrick Payne, there was Dunk and Egg. A young, naïve but ultimately courageous hedge knight, Ser Duncan the Tall towers above his rivals—in stature if not experience. Tagging along is his diminutive squire, a boy called Egg—whose true name is hidden from all he and Dunk encounter. Though more improbable heroes may not be found in all of Westeros, great destinies lay ahead for these two . . . as do powerful foes, royal intrigue, and outrageous exploits.
Featuring more than 160 all-new illustrations by Gary Gianni, A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms is a must-have collection that proves chivalry isn’t dead—yet.

Praise for A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms

“Readers who already love Martin and his ability to bring visceral human drama out of any story will be thrilled to find this trilogy brought together and injected with extra life.”—Booklist

“The real reason to check out this collection is that it’s simply great storytelling. Martin crafts a living, breathing world in a way few authors can. . . . [Gianni’s illustrations] really bring the events of the novellas to life in beautiful fashion.”—Tech Times

“Stirring . . . As Tolkien has his Silmarillion, so [George R. R.] Martin has this trilogy of foundational tales. They succeed on their own, but in addition, they succeed in making fans want more.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Pure fantasy adventure, with two of the most likable protagonists George R. R. Martin has ever penned.”—Bustle

“A must-read for Martin’s legion of fans . . . a rousing prelude to [his] bestselling Song of Ice and Fire saga . . . rich in human drama and the colorful worldbuilding that distinguishes other books in the series.”—Publishers Weekly
¿Qué pasaría si el amor de Dios fuera como el sol —constante e invariable? ¿Qué sucedería si un día te dieras cuenta de que nada podría quitártelo?
Aveluz es un pequeño pajarillo de brillante color anaranjado al que le encanta la luz del sol. Pero cuando llega una tormenta, se angustia y le pregunta a su mamá por qué Dios permite que la lluvia les quite el sol. Cuando finalmente Aveluz ha crecido lo suficiente, su mamá le indica con paciencia que vuele hacia arriba, atravesando truenos y rayos, para ver lo que hay del otro lado. Para Aveluz es un vuelo muy difícil, pero justo cuando está a punto de darse por vencido, vuela por arriba de la tormenta y descubre que el sol seguía brillando como siempre.Aveluz es un libro infantil que imita la vida de Samantha Crawford, una artista de libros de cuentos representada en la película de inspiración Incondicional, quien perdió de vista el amor de Dios y volvió a descubrirlo.

What if God’s love were like the sun, constant and unchanging? What if one day you realized nothing could take that away?
Firebird is a bright orange baby Oriole who just loves the sunshine. But whenever a storm blows in, he frets and asks Mama why God allows the rain to take the sun away. When Firebird is finally old enough, his mother gently instructs him to fly up through the thunder and lightning to see what’s on the other side. It’s a rough flight and just when he’s about to give up, Firebird rises above the storm to discover the sun shining where it always had been.
Firebird is a children’s book that parallels the life of Samantha Crawford, a storybook artist in the inspirational film Unconditional, who lost sight of God’s love and discovered it again.
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