Friday, July 1, 2011

Caleb's Crossing by Geraldine Brooks

This Pulitzer Prize winning author does not disappoint with her newest wonderful work of historic fiction. 

The titular Caleb is based on the first Native American student to graduate from Harvard College in 1665. Documentation in the front and back of the book remind us that this is based on a real person. The story is narrated by Bethia Mayfield, daughter of an English minister who was among the first to settle the island we now know as Nantucket.  The Mayfields strove to co-exist with the Indians, and educate them in the Christian religion as well as academic subjects.  Caleb is brought into the Mayfield home so that he could be prepared for Harvard.

Bethia's voice is strong, and tells the story so well that you can't stop reading.  The author writes in the style of language that would have been spoken at the time, furthering the reader's immersion in the book .  (You will want to read a few chapters in a row at the beginning so that you get the feeling for the speech, rather than picking it up and putting it down.)

This book will appeal to men and women alike, and I highly recommend it.

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1 comment:

  1. Melissa HendersonJuly 1, 2011 at 1:52 PM

    Geraldine Brooks does such a wonderful job of spinning a compelling narrative out of historical facts -- Caleb's Crossing is no exception. The history of the islands and their relationship to the colony of Massachusetts -- the political and social intrigue and negotiation -- is fascinating. Additionally, the background on higher education in our country's founding years was also eye-opening. listened to the audiobook version, which I found very engaging, especially the somewhat archaic language. I am a bit perplexed by the title as the story focuses on Bethia and her choices and changes.

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