A Rhinestone Button
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Job Sanstrum sees sound in colour; the hum of the vacuum cleaner creates a soothing glass egg in his hands, the resonant ring of a wet finger run around a wine glass generates hues of merging pastel colours like the shifting gloss of northern lights that grace the sky of his home town Godsfinger, Alberta. This is a community of curious characters, and a town where crop circles occur, birds drop out of the sky, and a duck waddles around in a nappy. Still, Job is an outsider, and when his bullying pastor brother, Jacob, returns with his wife and troubled son to claim the family farmhouse, Job is forced out of his home into further solitude. In the diner Liv serves Job an extra large slice of blueberry pie, her bangles jingling, while Christal stands in stilletto's flipping burgers; Dithy squirts him with her water gun and instructs him to get out more. When his ability to see sound begins to fade and his one comfort is lost, Job realises he must look beyond himself and his solitary existence to find happiness and acceptance. In this exquisitely written novel Gail Anderson-Dargatz entwines her ability to make us understand and love characters, with her power to evoke the beauty in the minutiae of life and the tremendous natural forces of The Rhinestone Button's rural backdrop.
Jacob to do them, he fumbled for words to describe the wonder of the colours he heard, the feeling of aha! His mother ignored him, as she did when she thought he was talking nonsense, and went on chopping carrots. He tried explaining to his father how he knew the cows were in heat, often before the bulls knew, by listening to their bawls. “Their bellow goes really dark when they’re in heat,” Job told his father, “like chokecherry.” He meant the colour of chokecherries when they were ripe, near
bull jerked his head back from the splash of each stone flung into the water, but stayed firmly lodged in muck. Job took a few quick steps into the lake, thinking he could scare the bull into pulling itself free, but only succeeded in getting stuck himself. He took a step forward but found his boot left behind. Job stepped back into the boot. He swung around, yanked his boot free, dragged himself forward to the bull. An American bittern hidden in the reed canary grass sounded for all the world
put a notice in the bulletin.” “Pastor Divine coming?” “He said he figured he’d better be here when the foundation was laid. To show his support.” Lilith put a plate of pancakes on the table and pointed her spatula out the window. “Who’s that?” she said. Job turned in his seat to see the figure walking down Correction Line Road. “It’s Liv,” he said, and watched as she turned into their driveway. “You didn’t ask her to come over, did you?” Lilith asked Jacob. “Why would you ask her over?”
bring to the Lord today will soon have a place to live and learn about the Lord.” Divine pulled up a chair and sat. “All right. So I’m sitting here, reading my newspaper.” “Hello,” said Jacob. “Hello.” “I wonder, sir, where would you go today if you were hit by a bus and died?” Pastor Jack sat forward, addressed the group. “There, see, a direct approach. Don’t beat around the bush.” He sat back, resumed acting. “I suppose I’d be dead.” “Yes sir, but where would you go? Heaven or hell?”
concrete foundation. Job was watching the firemen roll up their hoses and put away their gear when he spotted a glow over the trees around the barnyard. The hired hand’s cabin. He called to Carlson and pointed, before heading to the cabin himself as the men drove the pumper truck over. Fire licked up the wall. Smoke drifted up from the roof and from between the shingles. Fire in the tiny attic. Jacob came out and watched with Job as Carlson quickly climbed a ladder and, with the pick on his axe,