Thursday, October 13, 2011

Caleb's Crossing

Caleb's Crossing was one of the books that I'd been most eager to read lately. I had always heard good things about Geraldine Brooks and this historical novel sounded particularly interesting. Set in Martha's Vineyard and Cambridge, Massachusetts in the 17th century, it purportedly told the story of Caleb, the first Native American to graduate from Harvard.

It turns out that the story was actually focused around Bethia, the daughter of a Puritan minister and lifelong friend of Caleb. I found this to be letdown, both because I was far more interested in Caleb as a character and because I couldn't help but find Bethia to be an annoying narrator. Her frequent lapses into a Puritanical mindset made it hard to warm up to her. The way she tells her story--in three parts, as written in a journal at three different times in her life--made the pacing feel awkward for me. Just as I was getting into the action, a scene would abruptly end and the next part would begin, with her writing something along the lines of, "Looking back to what I wrote then..."

In spite of all this, there was something compelling about the book. Even though much of it fell short of my expectations, I still found myself rushing through, eager to see what would happen next. That has to count for something.

No comments:

Post a Comment


Related Posts with Thumbnails