2 Mar 2011

Caleb's Crossing by Geraldine Brooks

Fourth Estate
9780732289225

Caleb's Crossing is typical Brooks with a great story being richly told. I'm sure the purists would criticise her for tinkering with history, but she's not an historian, she's a novelist with a nose for a good story. Who could blame her for taking a local's interest in her surroundings and through her craft try to encourage a broader appreciation of their significance.
Martha's vineyard is her stomping ground and that of Caleb, though they are separated by hundreds of years. She is Australian born and drawn to this heartland of modern civilisation while Caleb, an American Indian, is born to it. His crossing refers to his education at the hands of the Pilgrim Fathers.
A key player in this conversion is Bethia Mayfield who narrates and chronicles the story of Caleb's new life from when they first meet in the wilderness to his untimely death. Brooks captures the harsh reality of this new world for all concerned. It is a memorable book and as with her previous works gets you to think outside the confines of her artifice.

Books in Print staff review by Sue