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Raising Stony Mayhall (Anglais) Broché – 28 juin 2011

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Chapter one


Easterly, Iowa

t was a wonder she saw the dead girl at all. The first winter storm of the season had rolled in well ahead of the forecast, and Wanda Mayhall drove hunched over the wheel, squinting through a shrinking ellipse of clear windshield at a road being erased by drifts, and singing in a high, strong voice. The wind buffeted the Ford Falcon station wagon and threw snow across her headlights, making a screen of white static. She sang "I Will Meet You in the Morning," a belter of a hymn that would keep her three girls from worrying.

And there, at the edge of the road, a dark lump on the white snow.

She thought it was a downed cow, or maybe a dog. Then, a moment after her headlights had swept past, she thought she'd seen a glimmer of yellow. Something about that wink of color made her think, Rubber rain boots.

She pressed on the brake as hard as she dared. Still the car slewed, and the two girls in the backseat squawked excitedly. Alice, her oldest at thirteen, braced herself against the dash and yelled, "Mom!" Ever since her father died, Alice had bestowed upon herself all the privileges of an adult, including the permanent right to ride shotgun and criticize her mother's driving.

Wanda put the car in reverse and slowly backed up, her eyes watching the rearview mirror for headlights barreling out of the snow, until she reached the spot where she thought she'd seen the dark blot. She left the car running and the lights on. "Don't get out of the car," she told the girls.

She walked around to the rear of the station wagon. The wind whipped at her skirt, and icy snow bit her ankles through her nylons. Typical Iowa snowstorm, raking the empty fields at fifty miles per hour. A few feet from the taillights the dark closed in; she could barely distinguish gray field from pitch-black sky. She should have taken the flashlight from the glove compartment.

Then she saw the lump, perhaps ten feet from the road. She stepped off the shoulder and instantly plunged into snow up to her shins.

It was a girl, not more than seventeen or eighteen. She lay on her side, half buried in the snow, her arms curled in front of her. She wore an imitation rabbit fur coat, a dark skirt, black tights, and yes, yellow rubber boots. Wanda pulled off one glove and crouched in the snow beside her. She pushed the girl's long brown hair from her face and touched a hand to her neck. Her skin was the same temperature as the snow.

A light illuminated them. "Is she dead?" Alice said. She held the big silver flashlight. Of course she'd remembered it; Alice was as levelheaded as her father had been.

"I told you to stay in the car," Wanda said.

"Chelsea's watching Junie. Who is she?"

Wanda didn't recognize her. Maybe she was a runaway, trying to make it to Des Moines. But how did she get way out here, sixty miles from the city? And what killed her-exposure? A hit-and-run driver?

The girl's arms were wrapped around her stomach. Wanda had a bad thought. She put her hand on the girl's shoulder and tried to push her onto her back, but only moved her a few inches; a drift had formed against her, holding her in place. Wanda pulled on the girl's arm-it felt heavy, but not stiff-and moved it down to her side. Then she tugged up the hem of the jacket.

The infant was wrapped in what looked like bath towels. Only its tiny gray face was visible, its eyes closed, its lips blue. Wanda made a low, sad sound. She worked her hands beneath the child, her hand cradling its neck, and brought it to her chest. It was cold, cold as its mother.

Alice moved closer to her, and Wanda put up a hand-the girl didn't need to see this. The dead girl's pale shirt and dark skirt were stiff with frozen blood. Her black tights, she realized, were crusted with it.

Alice stepped forward anyway, frowning. She didn't scream, didn't panic. She looked at the girl, then the baby in her mother's arms, and said, "We have to get them to the hospital."

"Oh, honey," Wanda said. She'd witnessed a few kinda-sorta miracles in her years as an RN, but there was no hospital on earth that could help this baby now. She held it to her and got to her feet. Then she carried it back to the station wagon. Alice said, "Shouldn't we bring the girl?"

"We'll come back for her," Wanda said. The mother she could leave, but she couldn't imagine abandoning an infant, even a dead one.

When they reached the car she made Alice get in first, then put the baby in her arms, as gently as if it were a living child. The younger girls leaned over the seat back, amazed. "You found a baby?" Chelsea said. She was seven years old, Junie only three and a half.

Alice said, "It's not-"

"Sit in your seats, all of you," Wanda said, cutting her off. The last thing she needed was three hysterical girls. She wouldn't allow herself to cry, either.

She eased the station wagon into the lane. In all the time they'd been pulled over not a car had passed them in either direction. The closest telephone was their own, a couple of miles away. She'd have to call the police, or maybe the fire department and tell them where to find the girl.

Then Alice shouted and Wanda nearly slammed on the brakes. "Alice, you can't-"


The baby's eyes were open.

After a moment Wanda said, "That happens sometimes." She used her nurse voice. Maybe Alice would believe her if she used the nurse voice.

"It's moving," Alice said.

One of the towels had come open, exposing a little gray hand. Wanda looked at the road, back to the child. Its tiny fingers flexed.

Wanda felt a stab of panic. Suddenly she had a dying newborn to save. She couldn't floor it; the Falcon would never stay on the road. "Hold him up to the heater," she said. "Her. It."

The ten minutes to the farm seemed to take forever. The baby's arms shifted feebly under its wrap, and its lips moved silently. Alice talked to it the way she talked to Junie after a bad dream: Don't you worry, little one. Don't you cry.

Wanda drove up the lane and didn't bother to put the car in the garage. She killed the engine and took the baby from Alice. "Help the girls out," she said.

"Chelsea, carry Junie in," Alice said, and followed her mother into the house. With one hand Wanda plugged the kitchen drain and turned on the warm water. The baby looked into her face. Its eyes were the color of clouds before a heavy rain.

"We have to treat it for hypothermia," Alice said.

Wanda had long ago ceased to be surprised by the things Alice knew. "That's right. Now go get me some towels."

Wanda unwrapped the child. Ah, a boy then. He was blue-gray from top to bottom, with a black umbilical cord a couple of inches long, and a tiny gray penis. Dark hair with a bit of curl to it. She stirred the water in the sink, decided it would do, then lowered him into it.

Chelsea dragged over a kitchen chair so she could see. Junie climbed up with her and wrapped her arms around her sister's waist. "We should name him," Chelsea said.

"He's not ours to name," Wanda said.

The boy seemed to like the water. He kicked his legs, waved his arms. He still hadn't made a sound. Then she realized that his chest wasn't moving. No: hadn't moved. The boy wasn't breathing. Junie reached out to touch him. "Get down, girls," Wanda said. "Down!"

She'd never been this scared caring for a patient. She decided she had to treat his hypothermia and breathing at once, so she cradled him in the water with one hand and pinched shut his little nostrils with the other. Then she bent her lips to his. Gentle, she thought. New lungs were fragile.

She puffed a bit of air into his mouth. His chest rose a fraction, dropped-and stayed down. She breathed into him again, and again. After a minute she put her fingers to his neck. No pulse.

He gazed up at her with those cloud-colored eyes, perfectly calm. His hand came up, seemed to reach for her face. And in that moment she made her decision. If it was a decision. If she had any choice at all.

"Mom?" Alice said. "Is he okay? You want me to call the hospital?"

"No. No hospital." Alice started to argue, and Wanda said, "They're snowed in. Nobody could get here anyway. Please, put the girls to bed."

Alice managed to get the girls into their pajamas, but none of them would stay out of the kitchen. They watched as Wanda worked, and soon she was sweating like a long-

distance runner. After a half hour the baby was no better and no worse for all the forced resuscitation. In fact he seemed to like it. The air she gave him he turned into gurgles and sighs and whines. His first sounds.

"We have to call the police," Alice said.

"We're not going to do that." Wanda lifted the boy out of the water and his arms waved as if he wanted to get back in. "Not yet."

Alice lowered her voice. "You know what he is. One of those things from that night." Alice was old enough to read the paper, to watch the evening news.

"Those were all back east," Wanda said. "And they're all gone now." The president told them the creatures had all been killed-or whatever you called it when you destroyed their bodies. And if the police found out about this boy, they'd destroy him, too.

At some point Junie had climbed up on the chair again. She softly patted his head. "Lit-tle babeee," she sang to him. "Little old babeee."

Then the boy's chest rose, and he let out a long sigh.

"He's learning to talk," Chelsea said.

"He's just making noises," Wanda said. Though how did he learn that? His ribs moved again, and his mouth made a breathy whistle. Wanda put her ear to his chest. She heard nothing but her own pulse in her ears. Maybe he could learn to pump his heart, too.

And then she thought, Oh no, I can't do this. But of course she'd have to.

"Girls, I have something important to say," Wanda said. She lifted Junie onto her hip. "Alice, Chelsea, give me your hands." She made them place their palms atop one another's on the boy's head, a laying on of hands, just like the deacons did for someone who was terribly ill or troubled. Concentrated prayer.

Alice said, "What are you doing, Mom?"

"We have to make a solemn promise," Wanda said. "An oath." She took a breath. "We cannot tell anyone about this boy."

"Why not?" Chelsea asked.

"Nobody," Wanda said. "For a while at least. Can you promise that? Junie?"

"I promise," Junie said. And Chelsea said, "I won't tell a soul."

"This is a mistake," Alice said. "We should call the police." Chelsea yelped indignantly and Alice said, "Fine. I promise."

Wanda leaned down and kissed the boy's forehead. "Our secret," she said.

Her mind raced. She did need to call the police, to tell them about the dead girl. She'd say she thought she'd seen something out there, wasn't sure what. She wouldn't mention the child.

"We should name him Gray," Chelsea said.

"He's not a cat," Alice said. "We shouldn't name him anything."

"We'll call him John," Wanda said, surprising herself again.

"That's it?" Alice said. "John?"

"Brother John," Chelsea said.

The boy looked up at them. Then he blinked. He hadn't blinked before.

"A boy like this," Wanda said, "is going to need a normal name."

That first night, a Saturday, Wanda took the baby to bed with her, but he refused to sleep. He lay there, gurgling to himself, waving his arms and kicking his legs. Wanda eventually slept, for what seemed only minutes. The boy never settled down, but neither did he cry. Near dawn she picked him up and carried him to the living room, where she rocked him until the girls awoke. Wanda called in sick to the hospital, and sat back, exhausted, as the girls took turns holding him. He stayed up the whole day, never napping, hardly ever shutting his eyes.

Feeding was also a problem. He often smacked his blue lips and worked his toothless mouth, but he turned his face away from water or milk. She was afraid of what he might be hungering for, but that day she taught him to swallow formula, and a few hours after each feeding he'd spit it back out. She doubted he was digesting any food at all.

After supper she hauled the crib from the basement-Junie had only stopped using it a year ago-and set it up next to her bed. The boy refused to sleep in it. She sang to him and rubbed his back, but after a half hour of leaning over the rail she gave up and brought him to bed with her again, where he cooed and squawked and fidgeted until morning.

On Monday she called in sick a second time, and again on Tuesday. She couldn't afford any more absences, but neither could she deposit the boy with the old woman who watched Junie. On Wednesday morning she told Alice, "You now have mono. You'll be out for two weeks. Chelsea will bring home your schoolwork."

"This isn't fair!"

"It's temporary."

Wanda learned to fall asleep to his noises and movement, and grew used to his cool body next to hers. He spent the night experimenting with new sounds. Eventually he discovered a kind of cry that would get their attention, a long, high-pitched wail that would cease the instant Wanda or one of the girls picked him up. No tears-there were never tears-and he never seemed too upset. He simply liked being in their arms.

The morning Alice was supposed to go back to school, Wanda dressed the boy in a special onesy she'd sewn from an old bathrobe. She threaded a leather belt through the back loops and fastened him to the inside of the crib. Alice was appalled. "He's not a dog." Wanda swallowed against the steely taste of guilt and said he'd be fine. She'd run home at lunch to check on him, then as soon as Alice got home from school the girls would let him out, got it?

Revue de presse

Raising Stony Mayhall, like all of Daryl Gregory’s stories and novels I’ve read, is so good that I grieved when I got to the last page, because I wanted it to just go on and on.”—Chris Roberson, New York Times bestselling author of iZombie

“A brilliant contribution to the literature of the fantastic. Heartfelt, fascinating, suspenseful, and terrifying, this book involves the reader as only the very best stories can: by entering our dreams—and nightmares.”—Jack Skillingstead, author of Harbinger

Praise for Daryl Gregory
“Compelling and creepy . . . evokes the best of Stephen King.”—Kirkus Reviews, on The Devil’s Alphabet
“A wickedly clever entertainment.”—San Francisco Chronicle, on Pandemonium

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Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
Daryl Gregory nous offre avec ce livre une variation sur le thème zombie, à la fois intéressante et émouvante, mais à mon sens un peu vaine.

Après une introduction plutôt ratée, la première partie est très originale, pleine de finesse et de mystères. Elle fait la part belle aux sentiments, aux relations familiales et à l'amitié. Par contre je n'ai pas du tout aimé le côté tragique de sa conclusion, que j'ai trouvé inutile et gratuit. Une des faiblesses du livre est à mon sens le manque de suivi des personnages de cette première partie, à part Stony. (Kwang et la maman de Stony sont quasiment absents pendant tout le reste du livre).
La suite m'a d'ailleurs semblé plus anecdotique, parfois un peu longuette (la partie de la prison !) mais le plus souvent drôle et pleine de second degré. La politique zombie est assez divertissante, et les nouveaux personnages valent le détour.
La dernière partie du livre m'a semblé un peu prévisible, à partir du moment ou j'ai lu "Science was failing him".

C'est globalement très bien fait, les personnages sont tous très réussis (Mr Blunt, le capitaine Igloo...), c'est souvent drôle, plein d'esprit, avec de bons dialogues et beaucoup d'idées originales.
Mais ce qui m'a gêné dans ce livre, outre son rythme parfois trop lent, c'est l'exploitation du thème zombie. A mon sens ce type d'univers ne se prête qu'à des livres d'actions typés "horreur" ou de franche rigolade, voire un mix des deux.
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Certes, ce livre est sur les zombies. Et comme tout livre sur les zombies qui se respecte, vous aurez droit aux scènes d'action et de destruction habituelles, avec une petite touche gore. Cependant, cette composante ne vient qu'en deuxième partie du livre, et n'apparaît que très secondaire. Ce livre est surtout pour moi sur la différence, l'acception de la différence et sur les liens familiaux.

Il m'a beaucoup fait penser au livre Sunshine (simplicité, chaleur humaine, acceptation de la différence, style talentueux et maîtrisé, fluidité de la lecture, empathie envers des personnages qu'on imagine tout de suite, y compris le Coréen taiseux et réparateur de voitures). il y a meme quelques moments franchement humoristiques (les repas en particulier).

L'introduction m'est apparue surtout comme un exercice littéraire un peu fermé - mais réussi. Cependant dès que la première partie a démarré avec le bébé dans les bras de la femme, j'etais happée dans l'histoire. La première partie de l'histoire ne comporte pas d'action, autant prévenir le potentiel lecteur de suite. Mais il pose toutes les étapes fondamentales permettant au lecteur de tisser ses liens avec le héros, surnommé affectueusement Stony, un bébé zombie élevé en cachette par des humains, et qui va (fait exceptionnel) se développer comme n'importe quel humain, caractéristiques zombies mises à part.

La deuxième partie (que j'ai dévorée d'une traite!
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10 commentaires 2 personnes ont trouvé cela utile. Avez-vous trouvé ce commentaire utile ? Oui Non Commentaire en cours d'envoi...
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Encore un bouquin sur les zombies ... pff ... quel est l'intérêt de ces sempiternels romans-catastrophe-d'horreur pour lesquels je n'ai aucun atome crochu. Sauf que déjà Feed m'a appris l'usage qu'on pouvait faire d'un tel outil (énorme !) lorsque les sociétés décrites restent organisées.
Dans d'autres romans, ce sont les zombies les héros, avec d'énormes défauts narratifs, peu éloquents, peu intelligents et jamais réellement organisés en société.
Et puis voici qu'un auteur réellement spéculatif, Daryl Gregory, rencontre ce thème qu'il traite à sa sauce étonnante.

Tout d'abord le zombie ne sera ni muet, ni stupide, mieux la plupart d'entre eux garderont toute la mémoire de leur état antérieur de 'Breather' (argot zombie pour décrire un être humain encore ... chaud), et puis les zombie n'ont pas causé (encore) la fin du monde (même si des courants politiques en leur sein s'en font l'avocat).

Mieux, les Zombies forment une minorité opprimée par le pouvoir fédéral et doivent, pour survivre, compter sur des Vivants qui les hébergent, les transportent même, pour différentes raisons allant de la résistance au pouvoir fédéral, en passant par l'empathie des membres de famille de zombies abattus jusqu'aux défenseurs des droits civiques.
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5 commentaires 2 personnes ont trouvé cela utile. Avez-vous trouvé ce commentaire utile ? Oui Non Commentaire en cours d'envoi...
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur Amazon.com (beta) (Peut contenir des commentaires issus du programme Early Reviewer Rewards)

Amazon.com: 4.5 étoiles sur 5 78 commentaires
4 internautes sur 4 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 The Most Ambitious Zombie Book I've Read 23 mai 2013
Par Steve - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
This book tells the story of Stony Mayhall, an undead child who begins to grow. The first part of the book (and the book is broken into parts as well as chapters) tells how Stony is raised in secrecy on a farm by a loving family. He is protected from society and his only interactions are with a handful of people. The characters are well crafted and plot moves forward at a deliberate pace. At this point it is a classic coming of age story with an undead twist, that still somehow seems believable. At the end of the first part something happens and Stony is forced into the world, where he meets up with other zombies or "differently living" individuals. The pace of the book changes at this point as does the author's voice, as we are introduced to a whole new cast of supporting characters. The coming of age story is gone and replaced by more of a political thriller laced with social commentary and philosophy. Many things start to happen and the author's imagination runs wild as Stony awkwardly interacts with the real world for the remainder of the book. The book overall is unique and memorable and very enjoyable. The only thing I didn't like was that the author's writing style by the end of the book was different from his style at the beginning. As a result, even though well written throughout, the parts of the book seem to be stitched together kind of Stony himself. 4 stars.
5.0 étoiles sur 5 If a Zombie book can become a classic... 27 avril 2017
Par JAK - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
First, I have to admit that I don't like Zombie stories. By that, I mean undead brain eating maggot infested Zombies - those stories turn me off. But this book is so different from your typical Zombie story. Stony Mayhall is found as a newborn zombie baby. He does nothing by the books. He grows, he learns, he lives with his adopted living family like any other kid except that he's dead and really can't leave the house or risk being discovered. From these humble beginnings he ends up becoming a quasi messiah amongst the LD (living dead). Not that he wants the role but he is looked up to by many of their numbers. Without giving away any more details, I will say the ending has quite an interesting twist to it.

Something about this book reminded me of the books of Robert Heinlein that I read decades ago. That, in my opinion, is high praise.
5.0 étoiles sur 5 "The Unstoppable" Stony Mayhall 4 juin 2015
Par Bill - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
Stony was born into the world not knowing really who or what he was. It was like he was an Etch A Sketch that had been drawn upon and then shaken. In his super hero alter ego he was “The Unstoppable.” That may be truer than he could ever realize because The Big Bite is on the horizon and Stony and his group of LD and breather buddies either need to find a way to stop it or embrace it.

A very interesting twist on the Zombie apocalypse that was refreshingly original in premise and execution. The characters were written flawlessly and the pacing flowed with barely a hitch. My second excellent read from Mr. Gregory. I look forward to more. 4.5 Stars and Highly Recommended!
2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Why don't more people know of Daryl Gregory??? 7 décembre 2014
Par jenmoocat - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
Why don't more people know about Daryl Gregory?
I have voraciously ripped through three of his books in the past two days.
The stories are unique takes on familiar genres.
But his voice is so intelligent!
And the characters are written so well!
The books suck you in and grabs your imagination and doesn't let go.

Although the books are different, the other times that I have experienced this is with authors like Hugh Howey, Brandon Sanderson, Liane Moriarty, Robin Hobb. Very, very different authors. But they all share an incredible gift --- amazingly intricate world building. These are complex worlds created, not by pages of exposition, but by deft strokes of a few sentences. There is an assumed intelligence of the reader. Real, multi-faceted characters that grow and evolve before your eyes.

Really good and highly recommended.
If you've found this review, you have similar tastes to me.
Get this book.
You won't be disappointed.
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Stony is a deep thinker, who happens to also be Undead 26 octobre 2015
Par Jim Smith - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
I never expected to be giving a zombie book a five-star rating. The story traces the life of John (aka Stony), born as a zombie after an outbreak and raised by humans who protect and educate him. He learns to transcend his zombie-ness and becomes a legend among his people. Other reviews here tell you a lot more about the plot, so I'll leave you to review those.
The reason I rated it high is for the complexity of the main character. Stony is a deep thinker who spends a great deal of time contemplating the reality that he should not exist.... yet he and his kind do exist. He finds ways to test his theories and limits, and it makes for a great story, which is woven into some of the usual zombie stuff, like hordes of mindless undead, etc.
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