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A Fugitive in Walden Woods by Norman Lock

A Fugitive in Walden Woods

by Norman Lock

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A fugitive in Walden Woods by Lock_ Norman
Really enjoyed this book about the Negro who wanders onto Walden woods and especially like the disucssions of th gardening.
Love how he helps others who in turn are famous and they help him also. Love hearing of the area, locale, nature all around as we've been there before.
I received this book from National Library Service for my BARD (Braille Audio Reading Device). ( )
  jbarr5 | Oct 24, 2018 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book! Normal Lock develops a character, Samuel Long, whose personality and experiences provide a beautiful way for readers to live in Walden Woods. The level of detail and precision of word choice made this book an amazing read. ( )
  kjmcpheeters | Apr 13, 2018 |
The premise of this novel is that an escaped slave, Samuel Long, having made his way via the Underground Railroad to Concord, comes under the protection of Emerson, who engages his services to live in Walden Woods and "keep an eye" on Henry Thoreau. The tale is told by Long some 15 years after the fact, when his freedom has been purchased by Emerson and others, he has received a college education at Middlebury College in Vermont, and has worked under William Lloyd Garrison at The Liberator. Long is often bemused by these privileged white men, who both preach and practice their views on the evils of slavery and the equality of all men, but who do not always see the realities of life clearly while they are busy thinking on a high plane. As far as I can determine, no real person forms the basis of Lock's creation, but the author has relied heavily on the writings of Thoreau and Emerson to build his story, and has included recognizable events, such as Thoreau's disastrous campfire which burned over 200 acres of woodland and threatened the town of Concord itself. Lock's (or Long's) prose is lovely, reminiscent of Thoreau at his best, but skewed differently. If you love [Walden], you'll enjoy this fictional memoir for its perspective on Thoreau's experiment in simple living, but if you find Thoreau annoying and slightly simple-minded in his outlook, you'll LOVE Samuel Long's wry and pithy observations about him. A very fine find, indeed.
November 2017 ( )
1 vote laytonwoman3rd | Dec 30, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
A Fugitive in Walden Woods is historical fiction, a revisionist history featuring some of the greatest American minds of 1845. The book is part of The American Novels series.

At the cost of his shackled hand, the enslaved Samuel Long escapes via the Underground Railroad to relative freedom in Massachusetts. His benefactor, Ralph Waldo Emerson, gives him a job of sorts—monitoring the well-being of Emerson’s friend, Henry David Thoreau, who is in the midst of his famous sojourn in Walden Woods. In the occasional company of these men, Samuel becomes acquainted with Nathaniel Hawthorne, Louisa May Alcott, William Lloyd Garrison, and other Transcendentalists. A Fugitive in Walden Woods is Samuel Long’s memoir of his year in Walden Woods, written through the lens of his later experiences.

So thoroughly does Lock set the mood that it is impossible to tell which words of Thoreau, Emerson, and Hawthorne are ones actually spoken or ones created by Lock. Though these men pondered the great questions of their age (and our own), the insertion of Samuel into the story, forces a more practical rendering of their great ideals.

Samuel writes,

"Emerson had asked me what it meant to be human. I should have told him that a person cannot be human if his life is perpetually in the grip of terror and uncertainty. Just as cities are built by people unafraid of marauding barbarians and the caprices of a hostile universe, so will we become human when we no longer live in fear for our lives."

A Fugitive in Walden Woods does not shrink from the difficult questions of our time, including racism. It succeeds in its goal of nudging us to become deeper thinkers.

"It is easy to misjudge others—a commonplace remark, but nonetheless true. We close our minds to the completeness of others, striking from the portraits we draw of them in our imaginations all contradiction."

http://shelf-employed.blogspot.com ( )
  shelf-employed | Jul 1, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This book is set at Walden Pond in the nineteenth century and includes real life characters such as Henry Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson. The story is narrated by Samuel Long, a fictional escaped slave, who comes to live among the writers/philosophers of the era. I found the accounts of Long's life as a slave and his escape to be the more interesting part of the narrative. Long's thoughts on the high-minded philosophies surrounding him (compared to the real-life hardships of slavery)were also mildly interesting, but I didn't particularly enjoy reading this book. ( )
  JGoto | Jun 14, 2017 |
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""A Fugitive in Walden Woods manages that special magic of making Thoreau's time in Walden Woods seem fresh and surprising and necessary right now. Norman Lock tells the story of Samuel Long, an escaped slave who encounters Thoreau, with insight and some welcome humor. This is a patient and perceptive novel, a pleasure to read even as it grapples with issues that affect the United States to this day." -Victor LaValle, author of The Ballad of Black Tom and The Changeling "Portraying the traumatic psychological aftershock not of war but of slavery provides a convincing and complex narrative of new hardships faced by escaped slave Samuel Long in Norman Lock's bold and enlightening novel A Fugitive in Walden Woods. It's an important novel that creates a vivid social context for the masterpieces of such writers as Thoreau, Emerson, and Hawthorne and also offers valuable insights about our current conscious and unconscious racism." -Sena Jeter Naslund, author of Ahab's Wife and The Fountain of St. James Court; or, Portrait of the Artist as an Old Woman Samuel Long escapes slavery in Virginia, traveling the Underground Railroad to Walden Woods where he encounters Henry David Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, William Lloyd Garrison, and other transcendentalists and abolitionists. While Long will experience his coming-of-age at Walden Pond, his hosts will receive a lesson in human dignity, culminating in a climactic act of civil disobedience. Against this historical backdrop, Norman Lock's powerful narrative examines issues that continue to divide the United States: racism, privilege, and what it means to be free in America. Norman Lock is the author of, most recently, the short story collection Love Among the Particles, and three previous books in The American Novels series: The Boy in His Winter, a reenvisioning of Mark Twain's classic The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, American Meteor, an homage to Walt Whitman and William Henry Jackson, and The Port-Wine Stain, an homage to Edgar Allan Poe and Thomas Dent Mutter. He lives in Aberdeen, New Jersey, where he is at work on the next books of The American Novels series"-- "The fourth self-contained volume of The American Novels series tells the story of Samuel Long, who escapes slavery in Virginia by traveling the Underground Railroad to Walden Woods, where he encounters Henry David Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, William Lloyd Garrison, and other transcendentalists and abolitionists. While Long will experience his coming-of-age at Walden Pond, his hosts will receive a lesson on human dignity, culminating in a climactic act of civil disobedience"--… (more)

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