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Caleb's Crossing: A Novel by Geraldine…

Caleb's Crossing: A Novel (edition 2011)

by Geraldine Brooks

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2,4471622,521 (3.85)194
Title:Caleb's Crossing: A Novel
Authors:Geraldine Brooks
Info:Viking Adult (2011), Edition: 1st, Hardcover, 320 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:jz40, fiction, kindle

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Caleb's Crossing by Geraldine Brooks

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Showing 1-5 of 162 (next | show all)
Caleb’s Crossing is another excellent work of historical fiction by author Geraldine Brooks. I find all her books to be well researched and observant of the times she writes about. In this case it is Colonial America of 1660, and Bethia Mayfield is finding her way in a life that is limited and constricted by the constraints that are a result of religion, lifestyle and most obviously by her being a female. She is controlled by the men in her life and although she does try to accept that this is the way that it should be, she is an intelligent, strong-minded woman and there are times when she can’t simply bow her head and accept that others have the right to make decisions about her life.

This is much more than simply a story about a woman’s inner conflicts. Bethia was raised on the island of Martha’s Vineyard and as a young girl spent a great deal of time with an Indian boy. She taught him how to read and write and even the basics of Latin, which she in turn had learned by eavesdropping on her brother’s education. This Indian boy comes to be recognized for his skill, and taking the English name of Caleb, comes to live with Bethia’s family in order to be groomed to attend Harvard College.

The character of Caleb is based on an actual person but the star of the book is the fictional main character of Bethia. She is engaging, honest and thoughtful. Through her thoughts and writings her time in Colonial America comes alive on these pages. Geraldine Brooks is an excellent writer and has produced an insightful and compelling work of historical fiction with Caleb’s Crossing. ( )
  DeltaQueen50 | Jun 23, 2017 |
Bethia, daughter of Puritan minister, and Caleb, son of powerful Wampanoag chieftain, forge a secret friendship over a desire to learn about the mysteries of the other's world while growing up in 17th century Martha's Vineyard. A passionate but somewhat disjointed story of two brave friends willing to risk it all for a chance at knowledge and the freedom to choose. A fictional story inspired by the life of the first Native American graduate of Harvard. ( )
  GennaC | May 9, 2017 |
I guess you either love Geraldine Brooks' work or you don't. I find it interesting but I don't love it. Like Year Of Wonder and People Of The Book, I followed the story but felt no sense of emotional connection with it. If I had not read the other two I might put this down to the quality of the reading. With so many titles to choose from, I think I will leave Brooks' for her ardent fans in future. ( )
  Eye_Gee | May 8, 2017 |
I have loved all her books, this one included.
I love her "loose" historical background and love her style of writing.
Each of her books have been a joy for me to read and this one just as much as those I've previously read. ( )
  KarenHerndon | Mar 18, 2017 |
I felt always at arm's length from this book, which should have been a poignant and emotionally strong story. The historical information is fascinating-- the early days of what is now Martha's Vineyard, the relationship between the English and the Wampanoag, the early history of Cambridge and Harvard. But I felt little connection to the main characters, and felt some of the foundation of the story was rushed, though the later parts of the novel were wonderful. ( )
  jjaylynny | Nov 12, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 162 (next | show all)
...This is a book for grown-ups written by Geraldine Brooks, who not only respects history, she loves it. So while she sets up a story that's easy to fall into, she doesn't shy away from the realities of those times. And Bethia and Caleb's lives take some unexpected turns. The result is a satisfying but sobering look at the early days of this country. This is a great pick for lovers of historical fiction...
added by Jcambridge | editNPR, Lynn Neary (Jan 1, 2012)
“Caleb’s Crossing” could not be more enlightening and involving. Beautifully written from beginning to end, it reconfirms Geraldine Brooks’s reputation as one of our most supple and insightful ­novelists.
While no masterpiece, this work nevertheless contributes in good measure to the current and very welcome revitalization of the historical novel.
added by Shortride | editKirkus Reviews (Apr 15, 2011)

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Geraldine Brooksprimary authorall editionscalculated
Ehle, JenniferNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For Bizuayehu, who also made a crossing
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He is coming on the Lord's Day.
So it is, out here on this island, where we dwell with our faces to the sea and our backs to the wilderness. Like Adam's family after the fall, we have all things to do. We must be fettler, baker, apothecary, grave digger. Whatever the task, we must do it, or else do without.
On a day so Godsent, your mind is untroubled, the entire world seems well. You gird for tragedy on a different sort of day--a day of bleak gray sky, blowing mists and bitter, howling winds. You pray to avert ill fate on such a day. This I know.
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Book description
When Pulitzer Prize winner Geraldine Brooks came to live on Martha's Vineyard in 2006, she ran across a map by the island's native Wampanoag people that marked the birthplace of Caleb, first Native American to graduate of Harvard College--in 1665. Her curiosity piqued, she unearthed and fleshed out his thin history, immersing herself in the records of his tribe, of the white families that settled the island in the 1640s, and 17th-century Harvard. In Caleb's Crossing, Brooks offers a compelling answer to the riddle of how--in an era that considered him an intellectually impaired savage--he left the island to compete with the sons of the Puritanical elite. She relates his story through the impassioned voice of the daughter of the island's Calvinist minister, a brilliant young woman who aches for the education her father wastes on her dull brother. Bethia Mayfield meets Caleb at twelve, and their mutual affinity for nature and knowledge evolves into a clandestine, lifelong bond. Bethia's father soon realizes Caleb's genius for letters and prepares him for study at Harvard, while Bethia travels to Cambridge under much less auspicious circumstances. This window on early academia fascinates, but the book breathes most thrillingly in the island's salt-stung air, and in the end, its questions of the power and cost of knowledge resound most profoundly not in Harvard's halls, but in the fire of a Wampanoag medicine man.
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Once again, the author 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, she has created a luminous tale of love and faith, magic and adventure. The narrator of the story 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 twelve, 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 the author's 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.… (more)

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