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The Whiteby Deborah Larsen
Synopses & Reviews
R]iveting . . .lyrical. . . . A]n indelible portrait of a remarkable woman. . . . A] brutal and beautiful novel. -New York Times
B] oth a stirring adventure tale. . .and a lyrical meditation on one woman's coming of age. . . .Larsen’s perfect prose captures both the brutality and unexpected beauty of Mary's life. . . . For all its frontier romance . . . a stubbornly unvarnished tale.- Los Angeles Times Book Review
Hypnotic . . . rich and rewarding. . . . Other writers have tried this before, but none] so gracefully and at the same time so forcefully. Here is the old world of the New World, both a dream and our shared history, for our reading pleasure and our thoughtful consideration of what we all have lost and gained. - San Francisco Chronicle
A] lyrical excursion on a deep historical sea....Beneath the smooth beauty of its descriptive language, there is...terrific concision and lightness. -The New York Times Book Review
C]urious and fascinating . . . a saga of hardship and casual tragedy with brilliant moments of joy.--The Washington Post Book World
Illuminated by a wonderful sense of detail and natural rhythm, of landscape, body, and the shifts and changes of time.-Minneapolis Star Tribune
There is a wealth of life in this spare novel. At times the short sentences and spare language can feel light and ephemeral, but the weight of the writing is hidden in such brevity. The shards of images sink in to wash to the surface long after the last page is read.-The Oregonian
An accomplished first novel. . .Larsen handles. . .complex emotions and her dueling desires with sublety, and her elegant prose vividly brings Mary's world and thoughts to life.-Booklist
A brave. . .stark, snowdeep novel.”–Austin-American Statesman
Being American is to wear a coat of many colors. . .Larsen's novel is an instructive, winning reminder that the coat was once woven from broadcloth and buckskin, feathers and silk, in a fabric as hard to unravel as it is to deny.-Daily News
From the Trade Paperback edition.
"I was born a white at sea on the way to the New World . . . But I was taken by those whom we called Indians. Nearly speechless for a time, I was beset by terrors." This is the voice of Mary Jemison, who, in 1758, at the age of sixteen, was taken by a Shawnee raiding party from her home near what would become Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. In...
“I was born a white at sea on the way to the New World . . . But I was taken by those whom we called Indians. Nearly speechless for a time, I was beset by terrors.”
This is the voice of Mary Jemison, who, in 1758, at the age of sixteen, was taken by a Shawnee raiding party from her home near what would become Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. In this intimate reimagining of her life story, Mary endures the brutal scalpings of her parents and siblings and is given to two Seneca sisters who treat her as their own—a symbolic replacement for the brother they lost to the white colonists. Renamed Two-Falling-Voices, she gradually becomes integrated into her new family, learning to assist with the hunt and to cultivate corn. She marries a Delaware warrior, raises a family in her adoptive culture, becomes friends with two former slaves, and eventually, remarkably, fulfills her lifelong dream “to own land bordered by sky, as my mother and father had once purchased woods and fields which were dappled with changing light.”
A testament to the resilience of the human mind and spirit, The White is a cut-crystal narrative of Mary’s life among the Seneca, lit by flashes of her own voice and revealing her curious, open heart. From the novel’s bloody opening to its arresting conclusion—by her own choice Mary does not return to white society—Deborah Larsen never flinches from the violence and the splendor that marked the settling of the New World.
From the Hardcover edition.
About the Author
\Deborah Larsen grew up in St. Paul, Minnesota, and currently lives with her husband in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Her collection of poetry, Stitching Porcelain, was published in 1991, and her poems and short stories have appeared in The Nation, The Yale Review, The Quarterly, Oxford Magazine, and The New Yorker, among other publications. She has been a Wallace Stegner Fellow at Yale. She teaches creative writing at Gettysburg College, where she holds the Merle S. Boyer Chair.
Table of Contents
Prefatory Note - I. Buchanan Valley, 1758 - II. The Ohio Valley, 1758-1762 - III. The Genesee Valley, 1763-1833 - Acknowledgments.
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