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The First Day of Spring
Cover of The First Day of Spring
The First Day of Spring
A Novel
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“Tense, addictive and powered by an unforgettable narrative voice.” - PAULA HAWKINS "A stunning debut...Suspenseful? You bet. Heart-rending? From beginning to end."—The Washington...
“Tense, addictive and powered by an unforgettable narrative voice.” - PAULA HAWKINS "A stunning debut...Suspenseful? You bet. Heart-rending? From beginning to end."—The Washington...
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Description-

  • “Tense, addictive and powered by an unforgettable narrative voice.” - PAULA HAWKINS

    "A stunning debut...Suspenseful? You bet. Heart-rending? From beginning to end."—The Washington Post
     
    “Gripping…The voices of Chrissie and Julia reside deep in your skull: visceral and wicked, sad and wonderful, all at the same time.”  — The New York Times 
    “Fans of Lisa Jewell and smart psychological suspense will eagerly await Tucker’s next.” —Publishers Weekly, STARRED review
    “So that was all it took,” I thought. “That was all it took for me to feel like I had all the power in the world. One morning, one moment, one yellow-haired boy. It wasn't so much after all.”

    Meet Chrissie...
     
    Chrissie is eight and she has a secret: she has just killed a boy. The feeling made her belly fizz like soda pop. Her playmates are tearful and their mothers are terrified, keeping them locked indoors. But Chrissie rules the roost — she's the best at wall-walking, she knows how to get free candy, and now she has a feeling of power that she never gets at home, where food is scarce and attention scarcer.
        Twenty years later, adult Chrissie is living in hiding under a changed name. A single mother, all she wants is for her daughter to have the childhood she herself was denied. That’s why the threatening phone calls are so terrifying. People are looking for them, the past is catching up, and Chrissie fears losing the only thing in this world she cares about, her child.
         Nancy Tucker leaves the reader breathless as she inhabits her protagonist with a shocking authenticity that moves the reader from sympathy to humor to horror to heartbreak and back again.

Excerpts-

  • From the cover

    Chrissie

    I killed a little boy today. Held my hands around his throat, felt his blood pump hard against my thumbs. He wriggled and kicked and one of his knees caught me in the belly, a sharp lasso of pain. I roared. I squeezed. Sweat made it slippy between our skins but I didn't let go, pressed and pressed until my nails were white. It was easier than I thought it would be. Didn't take long for him to stop kicking. When his face was the color of milk jelly I sat back on my heels and shook my hands. They had seized up. I put them on my own neck, above the place where the twin doorknob bones stuck out. Blood pumped hard against my thumbs. I am here, I am here, I am here.

    I went to knock for Linda afterward, because it was hours before tea. We walked to the top of the hill and turned ourselves upside down against the handstand wall, gritting our palms with smoke ends and sparkles of glass. Our dresses fell over our faces. The wind blew cool on our legs. A woman ran past us, Donna's mammy, ran past with her fat breasts bumping up and down. Linda pushed herself off the wall to stand beside me, and we watched Donna's mammy run down the street together. She was making noises that sounded like cat howls. They ripped up the quiet of the afternoon.

    "What's she crying for?" asked Linda.

    "Don't know," I said. I knew.

    Donna's mammy disappeared round the corner at the end of the street and we heard faraway gasps. When she came back there was a lump of mammies around her, all of them hurrying, brown shoes slapping the road in a thrum-thrum-thrum beat. Michael was with them but he couldn't keep up. By the time they passed us he was hanging a long way behind, panting in a crackling shudder, and his mammy tugged his hand and he fell. We saw the raspberry-ripple splash of blood, heard the yowl slice through the air. His mammy hauled him up and clamped him on her hip. She kept on running, running, running.

    When the mammies were just past us, so we were looking at a herd of cardigan backs and wide, jiggling bottoms, I pulled Linda's arm and we followed. At the end of the road we saw Richard coming out of the shop with a toffee chew in one hand and Paula in the other. He saw us running with the mammies and he followed. Paula didn't like Richard pulling her, started grizzling, so Linda picked her up and clutched her round the middle. Her legs were striped where her fat folded in on itself. They hung out of a swollen nappy that dropped lower and lower with every step.

    We heard the crowd before we saw it: a rumbling blanket of sighs and swears, wrinkled by women crying. Girls crying. Babies crying. Round the corner and there it was, a cloud of people standing around the blue house. Linda wasn't next to me anymore because Paula's nappy had fallen off at the end of Copley Street and she had stopped to try to put it back on her. I didn't wait. I ran forward, away from the lump of twittering mammies, into the cloud. When I got to the middle I had to squat down small and wind between the hot bodies, and when there were no more bodies to wind through I saw it. The great big man standing in the doorway, the little dead boy in his arms.

    A noise came from the back of the crowd and I looked on the ground for a fox, because it was the noise a fox makes when a thorn gets stuck in its paw, the noise of something's insides coming out through its mouth. Then the cloud was breaking, disintegrating, people falling into one another. I got pushed over, and I watched through legs as Steven's mammy went to the man at the door. Her insides were coming out of her mouth in a howl. She took Steven from him and the howl...

About the Author-

  • Nancy Tucker studied psychology at the University of Oxford. This is her first work of fiction.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from March 22, 2021
    British author Tucker (The Time in Between: A Memoir of Hunger and Hope) makes a spectacular fiction debut with this gripping novel about childhood pain and healing. Eight-year-old Chrissie Banks’s father rarely comes home, while her mother dislikes her. Chrissie lies, steals, brags, and bullies other children in her working-class neighborhood to get the food and attention she craves. One day, she strangles a two-year-old boy, and no one suspects her of the crime. She loves the power her secret gives her, but as the police ignore her and interest in the boy’s death fades, her desire to hurt another child mounts. Two decades later, Chrissie has become a single mother after her release from a detention home. Obsessed with caring for her five-year-old daughter, Molly, she panics when the social worker who supervises her parenting asks to see her after an accident results in a broken wrist for Molly. Terrified that Molly will be taken away, she considers flight and reckons anew with her past. The taut, meticulously observed narration, which alternates between Chrissie’s youthful and adult perspectives, mines the dangers that childhood trauma causes both its victims and those around them. Fans of Lisa Jewell and smart psychological suspense will eagerly await Tucker’s next. Agent: Catherine Drayton, InkWell Management.

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    Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group
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