A richly imagined new novel from the author of the New York Times best seller People of the Book. 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 12, 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' 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.
©2011 Geraldine Brooks (P)2011 Penguin
Ms Brooks has the novelist's gift of making you believe you are there, 400 years ago, seeing what Bethia sees, sharing her feelings of pain, love, frustration and passion for learning. The story inspires you to want to know more of those times, and how our early nation evolved at the grassroots level, and especially how at the expense of the Indians whose lands we presumed to be ours.
I liked to try to anticipate how all the characters would evolve into adulthood. Like much in life, then and now, the story is full of surprises, many of them not as we would hope for.
Unlike some of the other reviewers, I felt she did an excellent job with all the characters, most especially Bethia, and her particular style of formal speech.
I would love to meet Caleb, assuming I could speak his language. He seemed to be able to comprehend the true nature of both his native, and adopted, societies. But I would hope that he brought Bethia, as she is so full of spirit and love of life.
I haven't read the print version.
Bethia.....such a strong and competent woman. Open minded and forward thinking.
I'm not sure.......I seldom have the time to read a print version of a book. At first I didn't like the narration at all. But as I listened to the story itself I felt Ms. Ehle was trying to speak as one would during that time in history. She enunciates every work and speaks rather stiffly.
Yes, after getting used to the narration.
I am a fan of the author-Geraldine Brooks. People of the Book was a memorable read. So I decided to give this novel a try.
Although fiction, this book was inspired by a true story. The college of Newtowne was founded in 1636 and is now called Harvard and the total number of graduates in the 17th century was only 465. Caleb was a Wopanaak born on the island of Noepe now known as Martha's Vineyard and one of the first Indians admitted to Harvard in 1661.
Brooks has a gift of taking historical material and letting her imagination create a wonderful story.
A lovely story by Geraldine Brooks though not as fabulous as her previous works. The story follows the early settlers of Massachusetts as they struggle to build lives. The narrator of the story is an intriguing woman trying to find a place in a society that wants to keep her restrained.
The story while love is weak and the ending is disappointing. Geraldine Brooks seems to have lost steam part way through and rushes way to quickly to her concluding chapters. Usually I want better editing to cut out passages...Here I would have been happy for Brooks to have added much more depth to her story.
I must comment on the narration of the recording. Jennifer Ehle did a competent job of reading the story. However it is unforgivable that NO ONE taught her how to properly pronounce the Hebrew words in the story nor bothered to review the recording. There are also clearly recognizable breaks in the narration where corrections were edited in. Too bad no one bothered to edit the Hebrew words. With millions of people in the world who speak Hebrew how dare the publishers not get this right.
This is another of Geraldine Brooks wonderful books. It is written in the language of the 1600s and therefore hearing it on audible makes it all the more enjoyable. The performance is outstanding. I highly recommend this audible production
* love to work (nursing informatics) * love dogs * love speed * listen to books constantly *
Decide in advance that you will picture the reader in the time period of the book and that someone might actually speak with severe enunciation. Then - - enjoy the FABULOUS book - you won't be able to put it down. I am looking for other books by this author right now, I can hardly wait!
I want to read books that take me to a "place and/or time" I've never been. On the other hand, I love reading about places where I HAVE been.
Nice, interesting book written about early 17th C Americans , both English and Native Americans...trying to get along on Martha's Vineyard. I liked the writing, -dialogue in the vernacular of the day-
Story of gender and race, nature and the importance of education.
Unique read which gives us a good picture of our country "back in the day."
I suppose if you are into stories where the different religions argue and compete, you would find this interesting. I chose this story because of the historical content. Immediately, the story starts in about how the girl killed her mother because she believed in the wrong god. Pleeze.
Rarely does a reader actually do such a poor job. It was stilted, oddly emphasized and smug. The narration was so intrusive that it was hard to get a feel for the story itself.
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