The Cure for Death by Lightning
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When fifteen-year-old Beth Week’s family is attacked by a grizzly, her father becomes increasingly violent, making him a danger to his neighbors, his family, and especially Beth. Meanwhile, several young children from the nearby Indian reservation have gone missing, and Beth fears that something is pursuing her in the bush. But friendship with an Indian girl connects her to a mythology that enriches her landscape; and an unexpected protector shores up her world.
Set on an isolated Canadian farm in the midst of World War II, The Cure for Death by Lightning evokes a life at once harshly demanding and rich in sensory pleasures: the deafening chatter of starlings, the sight of thousands of painted turtles crossing a road, the smell of baking that fills the Weeks’s kitchen. The novel is sprinkled throughout with recipes and remedies from the scrapbook Beth’s mother keeps, a boon to Beth as she learns to face down her demons--and one of many elements that give The Cure for Death by Lightning its enchanting vitality.
myself — in a big stiff canvas tent, on bedrolls of canvas over balsam fir boughs. The tent, our clothes, and our hair were fragrant with balsam for the whole summer. The night the grizzly attacked our camp, the dogs woke us, and we left the tent together as a continuous black shadow. We were already dressed because on the mountain we slept in the clothes we spent our days in. Each of us, except my mother, had a gun in hand. It was a clear night with a quarter moon that reflected off the backs of
Her wire basket was filled with eggs, and she put them carefully into the washbowl and scrubbed them clean with a fingernail brush, placing them one by one on the counter of the Hosier cupboard. Some cooks, to convince you of their miracle working, maintain that sponge cake is a difficult thing of chemistry, of eggs three days old and flour just so and the temperature and humidity just right, but making a sponge cake is the easiest thing in the world. A sponge cake is nothing but eggs, flour,
vengeful thoughts that I rode right by our driveway, bringing Cherry up at the start of our sheep pasture along Blood Road. I dismounted, and led her through the orchard gate. A wind carried the rank smell of the Swede’s goat. A shadow skulked across the field, and I clapped to scare it off. The sheep bleated and headed for the barn, but one ewe didn’t get up. There were dark pools all around the ewe, blood. But she wasn’t dead. The blood was warm and she was breathing. Coyotes go for the
sunlight was shining directly down into the hole of the winter house, heating the wood of the chipped-log ladder and making us sweat. Nora yawned and stretched and moved away from me. “You’re all sticky!” she said. “You’re the sticky one!” “We’ll go swimming.” “You’re crazy,” I said. “There’s snow on the mountain.” “Not here.” “Not yet. The water will be ice-cold.” “Don’t be so chicken.” Nora pulled her jeans over her nakedness and slipped on the western shirt over the bells. I took
place. Maybe I’ll see you at Bertha’s.” “Listen, I’ll get one of my cousins to come by and let your mother know you’re okay. She’ll go crazy if she don’t know. As long as you’re not staying out in the open. Granny’s right. There’s something picking off kids. Promise me you won’t stay out in the open.” “I promise,” I said. “No walking at night, in the bush, eh?” “All right, all right.” I left Dennis holding his one sack of belongings and I ran away from the cabin and the farm. I took the long