An Incredible Crossing – Caleb’s
I can well understand why Caleb’s Crossing, by multi-award winning author Geraldine Brooks, won a Pulitzer Prize. As a lover of historical fiction, I marvel at Brooks’ reconstruction of the language of the 1600s and the depth of her research woven seamlessly into this story. Caleb’s Crossing is based on the true story of Caleb Cheeshahteaumauk, a Wampanoag (Wôpanâak) Native American Indian, who “converts” to Calvinism and departs his people to live with the puritan Mayfield family in 1665. Told through the voice of their twelve-year-old daughter, Bethia, over several years, it traces Caleb’s path through his early study under the tutelage of Minister Mayfield to his graduation from Harvard University at a time when his education was an experiment to some on whether “salvages” could be educated. Caleb exceeded all expectations as did his fellows.
Bethia’s voice rings absolutely authentic. Though I have no prior knowledge of the era or speech of the time or location, the author instils the reader with complete trust she has done her research.
A wonderful read; delightful prose despite a devastatingly sad ending – not from the horrors one might envisage. Thoroughly recommended.
Caleb’s Crossing by Geraldine Brooks – Winner of the Pulitzer Prize
ISBN 978 0 0073 3353 0 Fourth Estate Harper Collins 2011
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