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The Kirkham family has fallen on hard times in Manchester, England, during wrenching changes of the industrial revolution. The older children are forced to work to support the family, until a ray of hope appears -- strangers from America, preaching about building the city of God in the promised land.Dinah and Charlie Kirkham choose to go, but the price they pay is far higher than they bargained for. When they make the sacrifice, they have no way of knowing just how much they will gain -- and how much they will lose.When Orson Scott Card's historical epic Saints was first published in 1984, it had to overcome many obstacles: The original publisher changed the title, gave it an unfortunate cover, and published it as a paperback original, almost guaranteeing that it would disappear without a trace.In spite of these obstacles, many readers discovered it and passed it from hand to hand. The novel has endured, building a community of loyal readers for more than twenty years. This edition marks its first appearance in hardcover, and includes a new afterword by the author, recounting the saga of the book's development and publication.
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Born in Richland, Washington in 1951, Orson Scott Card grew up in California, Arizona, and Utah. He lived in Brazil for two years as an unpaid missionary for the Mormon Church and received degrees from Brigham Young University (1975) and the University of Utah (1981). The author of numerous books, Card was the first writer to receive both the Hugo and Nebula awards for best novel two years in a row, first for Ender's Game and then for the sequel Speaker for the Dead. He lives with his wife and children in North Carolina.
The day John Kirkham abandoned his family, he came home early from work. It was midafternoon, and Manchester bustled with business. He dodged carts and wagons and carriages all the way home. He remembered that when he was a young man he walked for pleasure, sending the carriage home early from the store. And then, when they had lost the house and moved into the rooms over the store, he had walked not at all, if he could help it. He was irritated by business, ashamed of the sweat of his brow. Sweat was for less sensitive men, the near-animals who made their nails and wove their endless cloth and tended their machinery in the factories that pumped the air out of the sky and replaced it with foul coal smoke.
This was not the first day John had left early. Many times, pushing another man’s broom in another man’s store, he had become impatient and taken his box of paints and pens and coals, and a sheaf of papers, and headed out of the city, beyond Broughton to the north or Ardwick to the east, to where the scenes were rustic and unspoiled, to where the carriages did not come.
There was no grace in carriages, or in any of the works of men, John was sure. To him all buildings were blocky protuberances from the surface of the earth; Manchester was a vast blemish. He could not paint with a carriage in the scene; the thought of drawing a shop or factory would never have occurred to him. Instead he had always painted the gentle, wild scenes by the River Medlock, upstream of Manchester where the water was drinkable and fish had strength to leap.
But now he had painted everything within a day’s going and coming of Manchester. Even if he had not, he had no will to paint anything near this city, even if he saw something new. Tied to the shop by his need for money, where the work dulled him and slowed his mind and heart, he could not paint his best. True, the painters in London were forced to paint portraits, dull visions of dull people, in order to finance themselves in style. But at least they painted for their bread and were received as artists in society, not forced to bear the crude manners of factory men, not forced to smile and deferently give them what they wanted for their coins, their precious and grudgingly given pennies and shillings. A real painter never had fingers so stiff from gripping a broom that he could not hold a brush.
So today John left work early, but did not go to the countryside. Instead he headed home.
Home was surely not where he had intended to go. He had meant to go east, keep walking until he reached London, where a discriminating audience would soon recognize his talent. But, as always, his feet would not let him leave Anna, not without seeing her one last time. He tried to remember--hadn’t he felt this way before? Hadn’t he meant to leave, and then changed his mind because of Anna’s comfortable ways?
Busy people passed him, hurrying, shoving sometimes, jostling and scrambling for place in the dirty streets. John refused to let his heart beat as quickly as theirs. His footsteps were slower. More relaxed. He could hear the silent criticisms as the busy men went by. Idler. Slacker. If you have no hurry, don’t take place on the road. But I am not on the road, John answered. I am walking in the meadow God meant this place to be. You have hidden it in stone, but still my feet can feel the grass, my ears can hear the bees dozing on the dandelions.
Home was one apartment in a long building that stretched the length of a block of Bedford Street. It was a nice enough place, their cottage, but definitely middle class. Definitely middle-bordering-on-lower class. Not the home of a gentleman. I was meant to be a gentleman, John Kirkham thought bitterly. If the universe were properly run I would manage a great estate and paint in the garden in the afternoon. God is perfect when it comes to nature, but he’s far too whimsical with the lives of men. Bees don’t dig badger holes, yet I take small money and wait on barbarians. I have been mislaid in a world of brick. If my father had had the good sense to be as impotent as he was stupid, I might have had my soul placed in a different family, with the right advantages. The stone walls of the great houses in the countryside. Some men should not have had children.
“Dinah. Your cheek is dirty. Your mother ought to wash you more.”
His ten-year-old daughter looked up at him with her inscrutable face. She neither smiled nor frowned nor anything at all. Like a cat, her eyes just stared into his face, as if she knew what lay behind his eyes. He felt a rush of guilt, knowing that he had decided to leave. Damn this girl for her silence, for her seeing eyes.
“Enough of that,“ he said to her. “What’s for supper?”
“Isn’t ready yet.”
“Of course it isn’t, girl; I’m home early, do you think I don’t know that?” He was ashamed to be annoyed, yet could not curb either the annoyance or the shame. “Why aren’t you in school?”
She said nothing, only looked at him. Of course he remembered why. The girls were sent home earlier than the boys. But she could make a civil answer, couldn’t she? He wanted to shake her. Answer me, damn you. What are you thinking? Speak, child, or I’ll know the devil’s in you. But he knew from experience that nothing would get words from this child unless she felt the need to speak. Her school uniform was frayed, faded, and too small. Not my fault. It was my father who gambled it all away. It’s not my fault for my father’s sins.
He brushed past his lithe daughter and entered the cottage. Onions were strong in the air. That meant no meat tonight, so there were onions to give some flavor to the potatoes. The endless potatoes, poor man’s food. Filthy Papist Irishman’s food. John resented the potatoes without letting himself draw a connection between the low wages he brought home and the hours he spent away from the shop to play with a paintbrush that earned no money.
“Anna,“ he said. Anna was surprised to see him home. Well, be surprised if you like, Anna. Life is rude shocks, Anna, and the rudest of all is the shock of learning where you must live your life, and that you may never leave that place. But I will leave.
“Are you ill, to be home early?”
He shook his head. “Only tired.”
He ignored the frown on Anna’s forehead. Only tired. His own words were an accusation: she was also tired, but where could shego to escape from her work?
Charlie came down the stairs, a book under his arm. He was small for seven years old, but bright and eager. Was I bright and eager at seven? John did not think so. He had been a moody child, had grown to be a melancholy man. Brightness was Anna’s manner, and Charlie was Anna’s boy. “Papa, are you ill?”
Again no. “I just couldn’t bear the shop any longer, and old Martin couldn’t bear me, and so we agreed to part company.” He saw Anna’s eyes go wide with fear. “Only for the afternoon, Anna. I haven’t lost my place.” He spoke snidely, angrily; how dare she care about his placewhen she didn’t give a damn about his soul. Fine with youif your husband never achieves what he was born to do, just so he brings home money. Never mind how the earning of it ruins him.
She clattered the spoons on the table; she was angry that he had spoken so sharply to her. It was unfair, and he was sorry. “You should have been the man, Anna,“ he said mildly. “You’d be rich by now.”
“And you’d look fine in a fancy gown, John,“ she said, smiling at him. Again he felt contempt for her, for being so changeable of mood. When hewas sad, he stayed quite glum all day; another sign of the weakness of women, that they could not hold a humour.
Charlie came to his mother and began reciting. The sound of it throbbed in John’s head; he would have left, but his languor sank him deep into the chair and he could not move.
* * *
Know then thyself, presume not God to scan;
The proper study of mankind is man.
* * *
Wretched boy. Miserable boy. Your mother’s son to the core. Read read read. Recite it once, recite it twice until all the family can say the words along with you. And the boy’s worst habit was to get well into a piece he had done a hundred times and then stop, leaving the last few lines to hammer endlessly through his father’s head.
“Born but to die, and reasoning but to err.”
What sort of miserable stuff is Anna teaching to the boy? Born but to die. Sounds downright Papist. Anna willhave the children read, willhave them go to school, whatever it costs, however it means that he must do his endless, meaningless toil and be content eating potatoes and onions, so the children can have their books. It’s not as if the boy understoodany of what he spouted. Ta-DUM ta-DUM ta-DUM ta DUM ta-DUM.
* * *
Created half to rise and half to fall;
Great lord of all things, yet a prey to all;
Sole judge of truth, in endless error hurled:
The glory, jest, and riddle of the world.
* * *
Just as John was about to cry aloud, about to run from the house begging for silence, for respite from the boy’s rote wisdom, just then came Dinah’s gentle hand on his forehead, stroking, calming. He did not open his eyes and look at her; did not speak to her, because she would not answer. He just slumped in his chair and let her gentle hands minister to his inward pain. His younger son might be unbearable, but his daughter had a good heart and a knack for kindness. Of course I won’t go.
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Book Description Subterranean Pr, 2007. Hardcover. Condition: New. Brand New!. Seller Inventory # VIB1596060867
Book Description Subterranean Pr, 2007. Hardcover. Condition: New. Never used!. Seller Inventory # P111596060867
Book Description Condition: New. New. Seller Inventory # STRM-1596060867
Book Description Subterranean Press [Hatrack River Publications], 2007. Hardcover. Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. 1st Edition. NEW HARDBACK. SIGNED by ORSON SCOTT CARS on blank Signature Sheet[NO Inscription]. 1st Subterranean Press [[Hatrack River]/ Ed./1st Printing. DJ in Clear, ARCHIVAL MYLAR WRAP. NO remainder mark. | SHIPS AIRMAIL INTERNATIONALLY! [Extra Postage Overseas]. Signed by Author(s). Seller Inventory # 000133
Book Description Subterranean Pr, 2007. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M1596060867
Book Description Condition: New. New. Seller Inventory # STR-1596060867
Book Description Subterranean Press, 2007. Hardcover. Condition: New. First Cloth Edition. Seller Inventory # DADAX1596060867