Museum of Human Beings

Colin Sargent, Author
Colin Sargent, Author . McBooks $23.95 (337p) ISBN 978-1-59013-167-1
Reviewed on: 09/01/2008
Release date: 12/01/2008
Paperback - 347 pages - 978-1-59013-349-1
Hardcover - 357 pages - 978-1-59013-389-7
Book - 352 pages - 978-1-59013-300-2
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Playwright Sargent's debut novel is a stylish look at the fate of Sacagawea's baby son, Jean Baptiste Charbonneau, the first Native American to tour Europe—as a curiosity and entertainment, of course. Twenty-four-year-old Sacagawea, though married, becomes William Clark's lover while helping guide the Lewis and Clark Expedition; after she dies on the trail, Clark adopts her son, Baptiste. Soon, Clark establishes his home in St. Louis, as well as a garish museum dedicated to his expedition, and sets to educating his new son. Soon, Baptiste is traveling Europe under the protection of Duke Paul, a cruel man who, when he isn't exhibiting the boy to royal courts, repeatedly rapes young Baptiste. Six years later, Baptiste returns to America (astonishingly, still accompanied by Paul), where he confronts Clark over his mother's mysterious death; unsatisfied and restless, Baptiste heads west and finds work as a fur trapper, an Army scout and gold prospector. Increasingly haunted by his mother, Baptiste revisits her in memories and visions that lend themselves nicely to Sargent's lyrical prose. With historical cameos (Beethoven, Kit Carson, Washington Irving) and an impressively rounded portrait of the laid-back, introspective, nomadic Baptiste, this novel will satisfy fans of American history. (Nov.)

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