A Stone For Bread

A Stone For Bread

Miriam Herin

Available November 2015

Synopsis: In 1963, North Carolina poet Henry Beam published a collection of poems, claiming they had been saved from a Nazi death camp. The controversy over authorship that followed cost Henry his teaching position and forced him into decades of silence. Then, thirty-four years after the book’s publication, Henry breaks his silence and begins telling grad student Rachel Singer about his year in Paris, his entanglement with the fiery right-wing politician Renard Marcotte, his love affair with the shop girl Eugenié, and his unnerving encounter with the enigmatic René, the man who supposedly gave Henry the disputed poems. The novel moves from 1997 North Carolina to post-World War I France, to Paris in the mid-50s and into the horror of the Mauthausen concentration camp in Austria. Even while Rachel wonders how much is true, Henry’s story forces her to examine her own life and the secret she has never acknowledged.



ISBN: 978-1-60489-156-0 Hard cover $30.00       Sale $13.00

ISBN: 978-1-60489-157-7  Trade paper $18.95    Sale $7.00

302 Pages

About the Author: 

Miriam Herin’s first novel Absolution won the 2007 Novello Press Literary Award and was cited by Publishers Weekly as an “impressive” debut. A native of Miami, Florida, she has been a social worker, taught composition and literature at two universities and three colleges and been on the editorial staffs of Good Housekeeping Magazine and the Winston-Salem Journal. She has also free-lanced as a writer, editor, public relations consultant and producer of films and videos. As a volunteer, she organized and directed an inner city program for teenaged children of Southeast Asian refugee families. Her second novel A Stone for Bread was a top-ten finalist in the 2014 Faulkner-Wisdom novel competition and will be published in September, 2015 by Livingston Press of West Alabama University. Miriam is the mother of two, grandmother of one and lives with her husband in Greensboro, N.C.



 Excerpt from the Book:

René was four years old when he buried a grenade in the garden behind his house. It was the summer of 1917 and there was war in France. Months before, soldiers had bivouacked in the village. When they moved on, René’s father went to join the fighting farther north. The boy’s grandparents spoke in hushed tones about Les Boches and guns with names, Big Bertha and Albrecht and one called the Distant Princess. René heard the booms from his bedroom window. He watched the sky flare with light. One morning a line of French soldiers passed through the village. That afternoon, his grandfather buried a tin box in a corner of the barn. The box held coins, a silver vanity set, two gold watches, a jeweled brooch belonging to a grandmother generations back, medals won by his great-uncle Albert in the war with Prussia. René held the small box while his grandfather dug. He watched him place the box in the hole, tamp down the dirt and cover it with straw and hay bales. The next day, René buried his treasures, bits of metal and colored rock scavenged from the woods. His twelve-year-old brother Etienne found them in the garden a week later when his hoe sliced into the grenade. Etienne’s arms were blown from his body and he bled to death quickly.

Of course, it was an accident. The notary who investigated sadly shook his head and reminded the family it was wartime. A dog could have dragged it in. René wasn’t told the notary’s explanation. He was, after all, a child and did not understand why his brother had died, what evil thing waited in ambush among the leafy turnips. Did it too have a name? Realization came to him only gradually, the way one’s hands go slowly numb with cold.