Rune Michaels The Reminder

ISBN 13 : 9781442402539

The Reminder

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9781442402539: The Reminder

Daisy, otherwise known as Daze, hears her dead mother's voice. Sometimes it's because of her dad, who likes to watch old home movies when he can't sleep. Sometimes it's because of her brother, who is too young to remember Mom, and needs to be reminded by looking at photographs and watching videos. Sometimes it might just be her mind trying to work out what her therapist would call "issues." But this time, it’s none of those things. It’s something much more wonderful and much more terrifying, something Daze never thought possible. And it might allow her to do what she couldn't years ago: save her mother's life.

Les informations fournies dans la section « Synopsis » peuvent faire référence à une autre édition de ce titre.

About the Author :

Rune Michaels studied psychology at the University of Iceland and at the University of Copenhagen. Her books include Genesis Alpha, The Reminder, and Nobel Genes. She lives with her family in Reykjavik, Iceland.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved. :

1

The first time I heard my dead mother's voice, there was a logical explanation.

It was the middle of the night, naturally -- that's when ghosts tend to visit. I woke up from a familiar nightmare, gulping down air, my face damp with sweat, my heart hammering, visions of blue and green slipping away as I grabbed darkness gratefully instead.

Then I heard it again, like I must have heard through my sleep.

Mom's voice. Mom's laughter, rippling under my bedroom door along with the sliver of light from the living room.

It suddenly seemed cold under the duvet, under the quilt, inside Mom's old nightgown with a picture of a roaring tiger on the front.

Then I got a firm grip on myself. I was being stupid. Mom's ghost wasn't out there, chatting with Dad over a late-night movie. There had to be a logical explanation. So I jumped out of bed, scuttled to the door, put my ear to the wood, and listened for a while.

It was Mom's voice, all right. She was laughing and chatting. She was talking to a baby.

Talking to me.

I glanced again at the flicker of light from the living room and everything made sense.

Not a ghost. Home movies.

I was relieved, but disappointed as well. If Mom were haunting us, I'm sure she wouldn't be scary -- well, not on purpose -- and there were a lot of questions I would ask before throwing holy water at her. Besides, you can say good-bye to a ghost. You can't say good-bye to a coffin.

Dad was slumped on the sofa, a computer keyboard resting in his lap, his hand on the sofa arm. The laptop was humming on the coffee table next to the projector. On the wall, Mom's face. For a moment a close-up, then the camera zoomed out to show her lying on the floor, holding me up. I was waving my hands and kicking my feet, shrieking with joy -- or fear -- and Mom laughed.

I watched from the door a few seconds. Then I tiptoed inside, climbed over the back of the sofa, and curled up next to Dad.

Dad's keyboard dropped to the floor. "Daze...," he said.

I put a finger to my lips, frowned just like Mom used to do when she told me off for something, and nodded toward the screen. Dad hesitated, then shrugged. He reached for the comforter that lay folded on the armchair, threw it over my bare legs, and together we watched more of Mom smiling, me shrieking.

The camera stayed on the shelf when Mom was sick. So our movies only show her healthy and happy. All of us, healthy and happy.

When she left, she took bits of us with her. Bits of me and Dad and probably Ryan, too, even though he doesn't remember her. He wasn't even three when she died. So maybe she didn't exactly take a piece of him with her, he just never got the bits he was supposed to get. Maybe that's why he doesn't remember, or maybe it's the other way around. It's hard to tell.

I'd seen our home movies before. I sometimes watch them when I'm home alone. Every now and then I make Ryan watch them, because I want him to remember what Mom looked like and sounded like, how she'd let her hair fall over her face when she was shy of the camera, and how she sometimes giggled just like a little kid.

Sometimes Ryan will see a picture in our computerized photo album, some strange woman, an old friend of Mom and Dad, and he'll ask, "Is this Mom?" -- just because her hair is the right color or she's smiling as widely as Mom used to do. It drives me crazy. It makes me want to kick him, honestly, but I'll just yell, and then I show him a whole lot of real pictures of Mom. And then I test him, again and again, making sure he can tell her apart from strangers.

The home movies are mostly of me and Ryan. Sometimes I have to do a lot of searching before I find a decent segment with Mom in it. But playing on the screen now was something new. Dad had made one movie, spliced together just with segments of Mom.

Mom looked real, alive. I could almost smell the cherry of her favorite shampoo as the breeze lifted her hair. But the pictures shifted quickly. Her hair changed in color, grew in length, shortened again. Her clothes changed, and I grew bigger, then Ryan was born, and he got bigger too. The color of the walls changed, the arrangement of the furniture. Time passed faster and faster as we approached the present. The last images were from Ryan's second birthday, and there were only a few seconds of Mom, sitting in the living room in our old house, staring into the flames in the fireplace while Ryan squatted on the floor at her feet and dug imaginary sand with his red beach shovel.

Then the film was over, and after a while Dad's screen saver came on. Just squirming fractals, nothing cute or funny. Not that I was in the mood for cute and funny. My throat felt tight. I kept staring at the blank screen.

Dad didn't say anything either. He just reached for his laptop, disconnected the projector, and after a few moments he was typing away. I stretched for a look at his screen. His fingers raced over the keyboard, producing lines and lines of complex computer code. It wasn't a programming language I recognized at all. Since Mom died, Dad's always working. And when he's not working, he's thinking about work.

But he didn't tell me to go back to bed, which meant he wasn't really thinking only about work.

Slowly the feeling of Mom faded from the room, and so did the lump in my throat.

"Nice movie," I said, forcing myself to sound cheery. "It will be good for Ryan. He needs something like this. It's tricky, helping him remember, isn't it? Brain like a sieve, that kid."

"Hmm?" Dad glanced up. "Yes."

"Best of Mom," I said. "Did you make it for us?"

"Of course." Dad smiled, his eyes again on the computer code. "Who else?"

"I miss her," I said, and the lump was back.

Dad nodded. "We all do." He hesitated, stared at me and then at his screen, but then he clapped the laptop shut, put it on the coffee table, and held out his arms. I crawled closer and put my head on his shoulder. A few small tears wet his shirt.

There aren't many tears left for Mom anymore, which is scary. In the beginning I thought they would never end. I was crying all the time. I woke up in the morning, and for a second I wouldn't remember, then it came back, like this heavy black blanket was hovering over my bed, just waiting for me to wake up before it descended, wrapping around my head, suffocating me.

Then one day the blanket wasn't there. I woke up, went to school, and only when I was walking home did I remember. I hadn't forgotten Mom was dead. I'd just forgotten to feel bad.

"Your face is warm," Dad said. "Did you have another nightmare?"

"Uh-huh."

"Want to talk about it?"

"I don't remember." I muffled into Dad's shirt. "Mom woke me up. I was having a nightmare, and then I woke up and heard Mom's voice, and I thought it was a ghost."

Dad pushed the hair away from my face. "That's silly, Daze. Do you believe in ghosts?"

I shook my head. "Yes."

Dad chuckled. "Which is it?"

"I don't know. I'm reserving judgment until I meet one."

"Interesting strategy."

"Do you believe in ghosts, Dad?"

Dad looked at the empty projector screen and sighed. "Sometimes I think we're all ghosts."

We moved after Mom died. I told everybody at my new school about her. I'd told them how she'd been really sick for a long time and then died. I told them about chemotherapy and radiation, about hair loss and wigs, stomach tubes and IVs, about white hospital rooms and beeping monitors.

My stories were popular. Everybody thought it was all very sad, but they secretly thought it was exciting, too. At least, I think they did. So I told them more. I told them about Mom's white face in the hospital bed, how tired she looked just before she died, and how peaceful she looked after, finally free from the pain. I told them about her last words, how she'd left us a letter for when we were older, saying how much she loved us and how proud she was of us. I told them about how her eyes seemed big in her thin face, and I told them about the way her hand in mine had slackened as she died. I told them about me and Dad sitting there by the bed, holding her hand as it grew cooler, and I told them about kissing her cheek for the last time, drawing the curtain around her bed, and leaving the room.

Mom died on a Tuesday. At first the world was frozen. I didn't go to school the rest of the week. Ryan went to day care. He didn't understand. I told him Mom was dead. I told him she'd never come back, and he didn't understand, but he cried. He cried for a few minutes.

Then he stopped crying and went back to his toys, and then after a while he'd ask again, "Where's Mom?" I got so angry I wanted to hit him, but I slammed the door to my room instead and told him to leave me alone. Dad was in his study, I was in my room with the door closed. And Ryan walked between our rooms, knocking at my door, whining to Dad. Dad was frozen too, everything was frozen, so Ryan went back to his own room and played with his toys, and in the morning Dad and I took him to day care and in the afternoon he didn't want to come back home.

Ryan stopped asking about Mom before she was even buried. At first I wanted to stay home during the funeral. I didn't want to go, so I offered to stay behind and look after Ryan. But Dad shook his head. He said we should all be there. Then I changed my mind and wanted to see Mom before they buried her, but Dad shook his head to that as well.

It was a closed-casket funeral. Mom was buried on Saturday, and we dressed in black and sat there in the church, with everybody looking at us, feeling sorry for us. Ryan behaved. He didn't even ask a lot of questions. He just sat there between me and Dad and looked around, afraid and curious, but most of all confused. I held his small, damp hand tightly while I stared at the coffin. I didn't want to imagine Mom in there. Mom had always been afraid of the dark, and it must be so dark inside a closed coffin, so incredibly dark underground.

"Aunt Kate is eating again," Lori said as ...

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Description du livre SIMON SCHUSTER, United States, 2010. Paperback. État : New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Daisy, otherwise known as Daze, hears her dead mother s voice. Sometimes it s because of her dad, who likes to watch old home movies when he can t sleep. Sometimes it s because of her brother, who is too young to remember Mom, and needs to be reminded by looking at photographs and watching videos. Sometimes it might just be her mind trying to work out what her therapist would call issues. But this time, it s none of those things. It s something much more wonderful and much more terrifying, something Daze never thought possible. And it might allow her to do what she couldn t years ago: save her mother s life. N° de réf. du libraire BZV9781442402539

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