|« Teens to Vote for Top Ten YA Books||Okay for Now, by Gary D. Schmidt; Stuck on Earth, by David Klass »|
Perhaps my favorite summer read this year is Ann Patchett’s State of Wonder. Through the eyes of scientist/physician Marina Singh, this novel brings us from Marina’s research lab in Minnesota all the way into Brazil’s deepest and darkest Amazon, as Marina is assigned to discover what happened to her beloved colleague who has died there. Patchett has done a marvelous job of combining sympathetic characters with strong plot and fascinating setting. I still find myself dreaming of snakes and arrows and impenetrable vegetation, along with wacky and loveable characters and heartbreaking decisions that are made along the way.
Geraldine Brooks has written another fine work of historical fiction, Caleb’s Crossing. The focus of this one, set primarily on Martha’s Vineyard and also in Boston, is the clash of cultures in the 17th Century between the native people and the English Puritans. Bethia Mayfield is the daughter of a minister who has come to the island to convert the natives. As a young and curious girl, the intrepid Bethia secretly befriends a young boy, son of a chief of the Wopanaak tribe. Through this story, the author has woven the known facts about the first Native American graduate of Harvard College, Caleb Cheeshahteaumauk. Brooks’s painstaking historical research and compelling storytelling give the reader an engaging insight into the lives and customs of the native people and of the settlers, and a strong picture of 1600’s Martha’s Vineyard (then known as Noepe) and Boston.
|<< <||> >>|