Author Topic: The phone call (470 words)  (Read 725 times)


  • Guest
The phone call (470 words)
« on: December 06, 2008, 12:09:26 PM »
This is a part of the same chapter I posted earlier here:
This part is being told from Cordelia's POV.

What I'm most concerned about, it the use of the Yiddish/Yinglish in this piece. I need it to help paint Cordelia's cultural background, but... is it easy enough for English readers to understand without having to look up the words in a dictionary?
(I do have a vocabulary list ready to include with the novel, but I'd rather my readers won't have to look up every single word.)

So, does it work?

(And again, corrections to my English are always welcome.  :)  )

They were watching the news when the phone rang. Cordelia flinched. She didn’t expect any phone calls; hardly anyone had her private number anyway. Her father, but he only called once a month, and last time he phoned was hardly two weeks ago. Nathan, but since he’d seen her this morning it was unlikely that he should need to speak to her now. Neil… did he even have her number? Had she given it to him already? She couldn’t remember.

Nushad turned off the volume of the TV and turned on the subtitles, while Soraya got up and handed the phone to Cordelia.


“Cordelia, bubele, where have you been? I’ve been trying to phone you all week.”

Cordelia’s face turned pale. Something must be wrong. She could hear it in her father’s voice; he sounded worried. Besides, he wouldn’t have been trying to reach her all week for nothing. How was she going to tell him about her accident? She didn’t want to upset him even more.

“I had a little accident, Abba, but I’m fine now.”

“An accident? Oy vey! What happened?”

“I broke my ankle. Nisht geferlich, but vos iz? Why are you calling?”

“It’s your mameh, Cordelia, she had a heart attack last week. And a second one yesterday. She… she’ll have surgery tomorrow. Will you daven for her?”

“I… I’ll try, Abba. For you.”
Cordelia’s face was even paler now, and her voice flat and numb. How could she pray for her mother’s recovery when she honestly didn’t care what would happen to the woman at all?

“Fair enough.”
Her father sighed. “If only things were different and you could love your mameh. She does love you, you know…”

“Abba, please, let’s not talk about that. I’m sorry, but I can’t change my feelings.”
Cordelia bit the nail of her index finger. She had to say something nice; she didn’t want to hurt her father.
“I… I do love you, Abba.”

“I love you too, meydele. You know that, don’t you?”

“Yes, Abba.”
Why couldn’t he just keep his mouth shut? She missed her father and would have given anything to have him here with her instead of Nushad and Soraya. Just him, and not her mother, of course.

“Are you sure you’re all right, Cordelia? You sound so… what shall I say… sad and small.”

She could hardly speak anymore. Tears were pricking behind her eyes and she was struggling to keep them back.
“I can’t tell you now - I’m gants verklempt. Please, don’t ask any further – and don’t tell Mameh. If you’re worried, talk to Hacham. I… I need to hang up the phone. Zay gezunt, Abba.”

Trembling, she put down the receiver. She sighed deeply and buried her head in her hands. No crying, Cordelia, she told herself, no crying.

Offline CarrieSheppard

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4271
  • All it took was a visit to AZ...
    • My blog pages
Re: The phone call (470 words)
« Reply #1 on: December 06, 2008, 12:25:23 PM »
Some stuff I understood, some I didn't.  What I didn't understand didn't matter, it was either made clear in following (ie the pray word) text or in context.  If this is how the characters speak, then use it.  If the whole book is stuffed like this (sorry Nel - haven't read the other chapters) then I might find it tiresome, but as a snippet to give reality to the dialogue, it works well for me.



  • Guest
Re: The phone call (470 words)
« Reply #2 on: December 06, 2008, 12:30:28 PM »
Thanks, Carrie.  :)

It's just a tiny snippet. This is the first time the father actually featured in the story, and he won't come into play very often. Most of the book is written in plain English.
If I wanted to stuff a book with Yiddish and Yinglish, I should write for strictly Jewish audience - and a lot of them wouldn't like my book. Too much explicit stuff in it.