ladymacbech, December 23, 2011 (view all comments by ladymacbech)
I have been thinking I might get another copy of both books - "Little Women" and "March" - pull them apart and mix the pages according to corresponding times, and see how they would read together. I have enjoyed both, and tried to read back and forth the second time around. That was too confusing. The two are so rich, but certainly related, that I found it hard to consider them separately.
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goodw59, January 28, 2010 (view all comments by goodw59)
Little Women has always been one of my favorite books. I found it fascinating to read what might have been happening to Father in his absence during the Civil war.
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Clover88, January 2, 2010 (view all comments by Clover88)
My favorite Brooks work, it describes the life of Mr. March, the father of the sisters in Little Women, during the Civil War. March struggles with racism and war, and also his own righteousness and passion for justice. I cannot manage to get my male colleagues to read it, because of the association with Little Women. Their loss.
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Alethea, December 28, 2008 (view all comments by Alethea)
I have just finished reading this for an upcoming book club meeting, and I think it's the best we've ever read. I have always been a big fan of LITTLE WOMEN, and this brought the adult characters to life in ways not possible in Alcott's original, as it was written for a younger audience.
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In her follow-up to Year of Wonders, Geraldine Brooks has taken historical fiction to another dimension altogether. Using America's Civil War as her frame, she plants a famous (but deeply mysterious) literary figure at its center: Mr. March, the absent father in Louisa May Alcott's classic, Little Women. The result is a wholly original novel, a rich re-imagining of the nation's political and literary foundations, and arguably Brooks's finest work to date.
"Publishers Weekly Review"
by Publishers Weekly,
"Brooks's luminous second novel, after 2001's acclaimed Year of Wonders, imagines the Civil War experiences of Mr. March, the absent father in Louisa May Alcott's Little Women. An idealistic Concord cleric, March becomes a Union chaplain and later finds himself assigned to be a teacher on a cotton plantation that employs freed slaves, or 'contraband.' His narrative begins with cheerful letters home, but March gradually reveals to the reader what he does not to his family: the cruelty and racism of Northern and Southern soldiers, the violence and suffering he is powerless to prevent and his reunion with Grace, a beautiful, educated slave whom he met years earlier as a Connecticut peddler to the plantations. In between, we learn of March's earlier life: his whirlwind courtship of quick-tempered Marmee, his friendship with Emerson and Thoreau and the surprising cause of his family's genteel poverty. When a Confederate attack on the contraband farm lands March in a Washington hospital, sick with fever and guilt, the first-person narrative switches to Marmee, who describes a different version of the years past and an agonized reaction to the truth she uncovers about her husband's life. Brooks, who based the character of March on Alcott's transcendentalist father, Bronson, relies heavily on primary sources for both the Concord and wartime scenes; her characters speak with a convincing 19th-century formality, yet the narrative is always accessible. Through the shattered dreamer March, the passion and rage of Marmee and a host of achingly human minor characters, Brooks's affecting, beautifully written novel drives home the intimate horrors and ironies of the Civil War and the difficulty of living honestly with the knowledge of human suffering. Agent, Kris Dahl. 10-city author tour. (Mar. 7)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
by Christina Schwarz, The Atlantic Monthly,
"Brooks's narrative is remarkably tight. Whereas much literary fiction wallows in digression, here every scrap of information propels the story forward. Her references to Little Women will evoke for quantities of her readers a beloved companion of girlhood."
by Beth Kephart, Chicago Tribune,
"Good books can be slotted, characterized, explained; great books often cannot. I believe Geraldine Brooks' new novel, March, is a very great book....It breathes new life into the historical fiction genre, the borrowing-a-character-from-the-deep-past phenomenon, the old I-shall-tell-you-a-story-through-letters tradition."
by Catherine Parnell, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel,
"One of the most superbly rendered works of historical fiction... It's lively history, the sort that jumps off the page and won't let you go. Brooks' talent lies in her ability to bring life and personality to history."
by Heller McAlpin, Los Angeles Times,
"In the formal, delicate cadences of 19th century syntax, Brooks's second novel synthesizes a taut plot, vivid characters and provocative issues....March is a beautifully wrought story...a moving and inspirational tour de force."
by Robin Vidimos, Denver Post,
"This richness, of time and place and of March's unrelenting struggle to live up to the man he thinks he should be, makes March a spell-binder....It is the feeling that the reader is witness to truth that elevates March beyond a gimmick to an engrossing, thought-provoking tale."
by Maya Muir, Portland Oregonian,
"Brooks has written a gripping story of an impossible time, and simultaneously a neat deconstruction and reconstruction of one of American literature's best-known families."
by Los Angeles Times Book Review,
"A beautifully wrought story about how war dashes ideals, unhinges moral certainties and drives a wedge of bitter experience and unspeakable memories between husband and wife."
by The Cleveland Plain Dealer,
"Inspired....A disturbing, supple, and deeply satisfying story, put together with craft and care and imagery worthy of a poet."
by The Economist,
"Louisa May Alcott would be well pleased."
As the North reels under a series of unexpected defeats during the dark first year of the war, one man leaves behind his family to aid the Union cause. His experiences will utterly change his marriage and challenge his most ardently held beliefs. Riveting and elegant as it is meticulously researched, March is an extraordinary novel woven out of the lore of American history.
From Louisa May Alcott's beloved classic Little Women, Geraldine Brooks has animated the character of the absent father, March, and crafted a story "filled with the ache of love and marriage and with the power of war upon the mind and heart of one unforgettable man" (Sue Monk Kidd). With "pitch-perfect writing" (USA Today), Brooks follows March as he leaves behind his family to aid the Union cause in the Civil War. His experiences will utterly change his marriage and challenge his most ardently held beliefs. A lushly written, wholly original tale steeped in the details of another time, March secures Geraldine Brooks's place as a renowned author of historical fiction.
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