The Crown of Columbus

Michael Dorris, Author, Louise Erdrich, With HarperCollins Publishers $21.95 (382p) ISBN 978-0-06-016079-1
Humor and invention guide the voyages of discovery wending through this lighthearted romantic mystery from husband-and-wife team Dorris ( The Broken Cord ) and Erdrich ( Love Medicine ). The tale is narrated in turn by feisty, pregnant Vivian Twostar, a Navaho-Irish 40-year-old associate professor of Native American Studies at Dartmouth, and by her on-again, off-again lover and fellow teacher, the very orderly ``Beacon Hill Episcopalian'' Roger Williams. In pursuit of tenure, Vivian, who lives a catch-up life with her indomitable mother and exasperating teenage son, has agreed to write an article about Christopher Columbus, who is also the subject of Roger's life's work, a poem expected to confirm his stature as an eminent narrative poet. Doing research, Vivian uncovers documents suggesting the existence of a long-lost diary of Columbus and a treasure he may have hidden in the New World, information that Roger, as expert, dismisses. Seeking the authentic Columbus, the two are buffeted by love and rage as they struggle to find a course that can accommodate their different views and very different natures. After some hilarious academic contretemps, the process leads to life-threatening adventures in the Bahamas and a series of personal and historical discoveries, at the center of which lies their enchanting and forceful infant daughter. Less tightly focused than the authors' other works, this leisurely love story is full of fanciful and convincing charm; readers may find Roger broadly drawn, yet the deeply etched Vivian is a true original (an ``indigenous iconoclast,'' Roger calls her) who leaves indelible traces. 150,000 first printing; $200,000 ad/promo; author tour; BOMC alternate; film rights sold to Cinecom; first serial to Caliban, Mother Jones, Redbook. (May)
Reviewed on: 04/29/1991
Release date: 05/01/1991
Hardcover - 978-0-06-016690-8
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-1-55994-459-5
Paperback - 978-0-8161-5283-4
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