Strange Children
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191 pages

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For Fans of Red Water by Judith Freeman, ISBN 9780385720694

  • FOR FANS OF The Girls by Emma Cline

  • AN ALL-CONSUMING READ: Author Sadie Hoagland delicately balances two stark landscapes—an isolated polygamist commune in the Southern Utah desert and the urban streets in Salt Lake City

  • PSYCHOLOGICAL COMPLEXITY: Told through the perspective of eight adolescents, Strange Children’s arc is a rapturous one of children escaping and surviving abuse



Publié par
Date de parution 18 mai 2021
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9781597098731
Langue English
Poids de l'ouvrage 1 Mo

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,0500€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.



a novel
Sadie Hoagland
Red Hen Press | Pasadena, CA
Strange Children
Copyright © 2021 by Sadie Hoagland
All Rights Reserved
No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without the prior written permission of both the publisher and the copyright owner.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
Book design by Mark E. Cull
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Names: Hoagland, Sadie, author.
Title: Strange children : a novel / Sadie Hoagland.
Description: First edition. | Pasadena, CA : Red Hen Press, [2021]
Identifiers: LCCN 2020043143 (print) | LCCN 2020043144 (ebook) | ISBN 9781597091169 (trade paperback) | ISBN 9781597098731 (epub)
Classification: LCC PS3608.O157 S77 2021 (print) | LCC PS3608.O157 (ebook) | DDC 813/.6—dc23
LC record available at
LC ebook record available at
Publication of this book has been made possible in part through the financial support of Ann Beman.
The National Endowment for the Arts, the Los Angeles County Arts Commission, the Ahmanson Foundation, the Dwight Stuart Youth Fund, the Max Factor Family Foundation, the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Foundation, the Pasadena Arts & Culture Commission and the City of Pasadena Cultural Affairs Division, the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs, the Audrey & Sydney Irmas Charitable Foundation, the Kinder Morgan Foundation, the Meta & George Rosenberg Foundation, the Albert and Elaine Borchard Foundation, the Adams Family Foundation, the Riordan Foundation, Amazon Literary Partnership, the Sam Francis Foundation, and the Mara W. Breech Foundation partially support Red Hen Press.

First Edition
Published by Red Hen Press
for marc
The flames sawed in the wind and the embers paled and deepened and paled and deepened like the bloodbeat of some living thing eviscerate upon the ground before them and they watched the fire which does contain within it something of men themselves inasmuch as they are less without and divided from their origins and their exiles. For each fire is all fire, the first fire and the last ever to be.
—Cormac McCarthy, Blood Meridian
Send thine hand from above; rid me, and deliver me out of great waters, from the hand of strange children.
— Psalm 144. The Holy Bible
Redfield Family Trees
L isten. Out of the desert silence the sound of dogs. Panting. Yelping. A distant barking in tempo. They came here that very week, after the fire burned the Prophet’s house. Smoke curled up then bloomed above the pink mesas. Ashes fell like snow on the red earth and the temple and the houses of the faithful. Air burned to breathe. For days after, even, the smoke seemed to sink, to hang about and brown the quiet air and out of this fog the dogs came.
They came with tongues hanging out and dust frosting their fur; they came wagging their tails and strutting through the remains like victors.
The children took to them right away, sneaking them bits of pigfat and whispering them names like Chickpea and Bone.
Listen. Sometimes things are over before they begin. So remember this moment. Picture it: A burned town. A missing Prophet. A people wandering in the desert.
A nd when it is over, I’ll be right back here, to the end, listening to the dogs freckling the pale hush that lay over Redfield.
But first, the children.
Listen. These strange children spoke the beginning and the after and they burned the ends together deep in the marrow of our hearts.
They cleared a place for us.
A place to feel for in the dark.
M y Mama always said that death has a sweet tooth. That’s how come he took my baby brother and also how come he took aunt Emma and so for a long time I figured it must be why he took Jeremiah, who was my soul’s eternal love, from me, though Mama never said this. And even though I know better now as to his fate and mine, and our story has been full up with things even so sinful as murder and arson, it’s best to start at the beginning because given what God had planned for me and my destiny, people will be wanting to know the whole account.
We live in God’s red desert country and we are his children but not all the people that live here in the land of Zion are God’s children, some are his not-children and some are even the children of Satan. You know Satan’s children by the way they stare at you if you go to Pine Mesa, hating you for dressing like we do, in our long dresses and dusty boots and wanting to tug our neat long braids and saying things about how we don’t go to school. When I was still young and worked in the front pens with the other children, where my lips were always salty, the Devil children would come sometimes in a car and say these things over the fence and sometimes take pictures while we were trying hard to do God’s work and to hold dominion over the beasts and feed the pigs and chickens. We always ignored them, my siblings—in all I have nine, four of them by my same mother—and myself didn’t pay them no mind because they were just using the Devil’s tongue to try to get us to quit our being of God’s children. My older sister Annalue sometimes talked back to the Devil’s children, waving hello even and once when she was mad she even said to me that she might just run away and go to live with them and even ride in their cars with them and it turns out now that she was truthing. But back then I thought Annalue was just saying this because she had found out she was not like to be married, owing to the limp she had been born with, but still it was hard on me at this time as I did not think I would be like to stand it if Annalue, who is fifteen and three years older than me, fell to the Devil or worse yet got sent away or put out to battle the Devil herself, because once you leave you can’t come back. I was worried and even though I knew that Annalue was not all the time truthing sometimes I feared greatly that she really did mean what she said. “Devil ain’t got no children,” Annalue would even sometimes say, and our brother Levi would pinch her when she said this and tell her that in fact he did, and she was like to be one of them because of her limp and I would shake my head at how wrong she was, but that’s before I found the One I’m meant to share my eternity with in the Celestial Kingdom, and learned more about how life really is, and then learned what He really had in mind for me.
I always thought Jeremiah was handsome but I never put much thought on him really because I was promised to his father, Josiah, ever since I was ten. They was supposed to wait until I was fourteen until the hitching happened, but on account of Jeremiah, it happened two some years early.
It started when I got charged in the teaching of Jeremiah’s little sister Mary how to read better because even though she was nigh nine years old she still could not get through the scriptures without all her awful stuttering. So in the mornings I would go to get Mary at her family’s place down the road, and we would take the Book outside and sit under some tree and I would listen to her trip over all of God’s words meant to be said smooth and fine. It was hot in the morning, even in the tree shade, and bugs clicked their wings and it was hard to stay awake while I listened and corrected her and tried to make her repeat what I’d say, so it was a welcome thing when Jeremiah began to sneak away from his work on the new fence to come and visit us. Jeremiah and I always got on fine growing up and he used to tug on my braid and tease me but in a nice way, the way I liked, not like when Levi did it and really hurt me or like the other boys who would do something like let a sow out of a pen so I’d have to chase her down. But now we were working grown-up jobs, relieved of the holding of dominion and of the feedings, and I was working mainly in the house and he was off working with the men on whatever needed working and so I hadn’t seen him most all summer so it was like I hadn’t seen him since we’d quit our being of children.
The first time he just came and stood and watched us for a minute, like he had something to say, and I looked up at him and Mary kept reading, only louder and then he went away and I watched him disappear into the dry grasses and I think that’s when I first felt I might be in trouble because it was the first time I noticed that Jeremiah had grown since he turned sixteen and his chest was wide and his hair, which was blond, was longer than God likes but still it looked good with his farm skin.
I know I was only twelve at the time which meant by the Word of the Prophet that I had two more years before I was of an age to be feeling for a man, but when Jeremiah came to the tree the second time and sat with us, chewing on a piece of grass and slapping flies away from all of us I knew I had the feelings a woman would have and I knew that God was trying to tell me something by putting this light in me.
So the next time we went to practice reading and every time after that Mary and I started going to the same tree, a big cottonwood farther from the house than the others, the one at the edge of the field, so to make it easy f

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