What a storyteller Louise Erdrich is!
Her book, THE MASTER BUTCHERS SINGING CLUB
is a beautifully written book, full of quirky characters,
family secrets, the beautiful and the grotesque.
This book weaves around, in a completely fulfilling way,
telling the stories of its numerous characters.
You will care about them all.
(Well, maybe all except one.)
Somewhere in the midst of reading this book,
I began to realize how so many of its chapters
could totally stand on their own as short stories.
I don't particularly like short stories.
They seem to be over before you can
sink your teeth into them.
But, this book is not a book of short stories.
It's a saga, fully integrating the characters,
their relationships and their stories into a rich tapestry.
I liked this book a lot.
CALEB'S CROSSING by Geraldine Brooks
is a historical novel built upon the true fact of
the first Native American to graduate from
the newly established Harvard College.
It is told through the voice of Bethia, who at the
beginning of the book is twelve years old
when she secretly befriends Caleb,
the son of a Wamponoag chieftain.
This book is the story of Caleb's "crossing" over
to Anglo American culture as he is educated
by Bethia's father and then the university.
This is not a romantic novel.
Historically, we know Native Americans
did not fare well against America's settlers.
Caleb's story is very much a reflection of that fact.
Bethia's voice is very authentic and
I felt as though I were reading a Puritan's journal
from the 17th Century.