1st Wednesday Book Group – Caleb’s Crossing

 

Calebs crossingTitle – Caleb’s Crossing

Author –  Geraldine Brooks

Book Summary

Once again, Geraldine Brooks takes a remarkable shard of history and brings it to vivid life. In 1665, a young man from Martha’s Vineyard became the first Native American to graduate from Harvard College.

Upon this slender factual scaffold, Brooks has created a luminous tale of love and faith, magic and adventure. The narrator of Caleb’s Crossing is Bethia Mayfield, growing up in the tiny settlement of Great Harbor amid a small band of pioneers and Puritans. Restless and curious, she yearns after an education that is closed to her by her sex. As often as she can, she slips away to explore the island’s glistening beaches and observe its native Wampanoag inhabitants.

At twelve, she encounters Caleb, the young son of a chieftain, and the two forge a tentative secret friendship that draws each into the alien world of the other. Bethia’s minister father tries to convert the Wampanoag, awakening the wrath of the tribe’s shaman, against whose magic he must test his own beliefs. One of his projects becomes the education of Caleb, and a year later, Caleb is in Cambridge, studying Latin and Greek among the colonial elite.

There, Bethia finds herself reluctantly indentured as a housekeeper and can closely observe Caleb’s crossing of cultures. Like Brooks’s beloved narrator Anna in Year of Wonders, Bethia proves an emotionally irresistible guide to the wilds of Martha’s Vineyard and the intimate spaces of the human heart. Evocative and utterly absorbing, Caleb’s Crossing further establishes Brooks’s place as one of our most acclaimed novelists.

Authors Notes

Geraldine Brooks is the author of two acclaimed works of nonfiction, “Nine Parts of Desire” and “Foreign Correspondence.” A former war correspondent, her writing has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and The Washington Post. (Publisher Provided) Geraldine Brooks was born in Sydney, Australia on September 14, 1955. She attended Bethlehem College Ashfield and the University of Sydney.

She worked as a feature writer with a special interest in environmental issues for The Sydney Morning Herald for three years. In 1982, she won the Greg Shackleton Australian News Correspondents scholarship to the journalism master’s program at Columbia University in New York City. She later worked for The Wall Street Journal, where she covered crises in the Middle East, Africa, and the Balkans. She has written both fiction and non-fiction books including Year of Wonders and Nine Parts of Desire.

She has won several awards including the Nita Kibble Literary Award for Foreign Correspondence, the Pulitzer Prize in fiction in 2006 for March, and the Australian Book of the Year Award and the Australian Literary Fiction Award in 2008 for People of the Book. (Bowker Author Biography)

Groups Comments

  • “One of the best books we have read at Bookclub”
  • Treatment of indigenous people outrageous.
  • Historically accurate re theology, ect.
  • Loved the use of 1600’s language – pleasing. Just who were the savages? Revisal of thought.
  • Writing brillant, evocative. Parallels with indigeneous Australia.
  • Research skills of author wonderful.
  • One member enjoyed it but had  some reservations – would have like to have more perspective on indigenous concerns.
  • Most people like the way of her writing in 17th century language.

CONSENSUS – GREAT book, GREAT author. Many of the group intend to read more from Geraldine Brooks.

 

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