Thursday, 8 August 2019

Do Not Feed The Bear by Rachel Elliott #DoNotFeedTheBear BLOG TOUR @TinderPress #RandomThingsTours

On her forty-seventh birthday, Sydney Smith stands on a rooftop and prepares to jump...
Sydney is a cartoonist and freerunner. Feet constantly twitching, always teetering on the edge of life, she's never come to terms with the event that ripped her family apart when she was ten years old. And so, on a birthday that she doesn't want to celebrate, she returns alone to St Ives to face up to her guilt and grief. It's a trip that turns out to be life-changing - and not only for herself.
DO NOT FEED THE BEAR is a book about lives not yet lived, about the kindness of others and about how, when our worlds stop, we find a way to keep on moving.

Do Not Feed The Bear by Rachel Elliott was published on 8 August 2019 by Tinder Press.

As part of the #RandomThingsTours Blog Tour, I'm delighted to share an extract from the book with you today.

Extract from Do Not Feed The Bear

Call it what you like, it still stinks

 I am eight years old when I see a dead body for the first time. Mum is leading me through Flannery’s, the department store we visit every summer. Before we find the dead body, we have to buy Dad a birthday present. 

I’ve got it, Mum says. Driving gloves, she says. 
These words set off an intense decision-making process that will last fifty-three minutes. 
We stand in front of a long glass counter, staring at five pairs of leather driving gloves, all of which cost more than Mum would like to pay. 

Around the block? she says. Which is her secret code for I think we need a private talk. In this particular case, it means let’s walk a while so we can discuss our decision
black versus brown 
stylish versus warm in all temperatures 
longevity versus low initial investment or, 
shall we just make him an origami owl? 
or, shall we just make him a mushroom quiche? 

We stroll through a jungle of lingerie, and I listen to all this without interrupting. 
We pass the elevator, and a man pops out from nowhere, pointing a bottle of scent in our direction. Absolutely not, Mum says, holding up her hand. 
It’s jasmine and iris, the man says. 
I doubt that very much, Mum says. 
It’s all artificial, and it probably contains horse’s urine. 
I’m sure it doesn’t, the man says. 
It’s not your fault. 
You’re just earning a living. 
I am deeply embarrassed. 
This is not the first time she has spoken about horse’s urine in public. 
Mum? I say. 
Sydney, she says. 
What does horse’s urine actually smell like? 
Like jasmine and iris. 
And I don’t want it in your lungs, it may never come out. 
I am baffled. 

Now we are back at the long glass counter, staring at the gloves. 
Hello again, the shop assistant says. 
Any closer to making a decision? 
Mum takes a sharp breath in, as if she’s about to speak. 
Oh dear, she finally says. 
The shop assistant smiles. 
Her name is Vita, it says so on the name tag pinned to her silk blouse. 
Vita’s hair is deeply perplexing. 
To me, it looks like a black helmet has fallen from outer space and landed on her head. 
It’s perfectly round, with a straight fringe that dips into her eyes. 

Blocky, that’s the word. 
I don’t know this word yet, but I will use it later when I am remembering the dead body and telling Ruth all about it. 
I inspect the helmet for antennae, for alien surveillance technology. 
No, nothing obvious here. 
Just immaculate shiny plastic. 
Disappointing and pleasing, all at once. 
You look like one of my Playmobil people, I say. 
You have the exact same hair. 
Is that a good thing or a bad thing? Vita says. 
Sensing a loaded question, I look at Mum. 
Oh she loves Playmobil people, Mum says. She ties string around their waists and makes them abseil down the side of buildings. 
We’re off to look for a cowboy in a minute. 
Lovely, Vita says. 
She looks down at the gloves. 
So are these for yourself? she asks. 
Well no, Mum says. 
Because they’re men’s gloves aren’t they? 
That’s right, Vita says, aware that she has swerved off track, deviated from the script. 
Okay, Mum says. 
She is stressed, which often happens when she is about to spend money. 
I stand on tiptoe, and all three of us stare at the gloves as if we are waiting for them to do something exciting like shuffle around by themselves. 
But Vita is not a magician. Not between nine and five, anyway. What she does when she gets home is anyone’s business. (Little do we know, at this moment, that one thing Vita does is put on a policeman’s uniform that she bought from a fancy dress shop and walk through the streets late at night. 

Rachel Elliott is the author of two novels, WHISPERS THROUGH A MEGAPHONE (2015), which was longlisted for the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction in 2016, and DO NOT FEED THE BEAR, which will be published by Tinder Press on 8th August 2019. 

She is also a psychotherapist.

No comments:

Post a Comment