A Generation of Leaves

Robert Bloom, Author Ballantine Books $22 (639p) ISBN 978-0-345-36957-4
With limited success, first novelist Bloom fictionalizes the history of the U.S. from 1792 to 1833, employing two vastly different though connecting points of view. Daniel Carey, a middle-class printer and historian in New York City, narrates the first half of the story. Through his work for famous diplomat and politician Gouverneur Morris, Carey participates in the turmoil of his times, meeting famous men, traveling to France during Napolean's reign, fighting in the War of 1812 and falling in (unrequited) love with Morris's wife, Nancy. The rest of the story, told by an omniscient narrator, explores Nancy's past--she was accused of killing her newborn baby (suspected to have been fathered by her sister's husband) and driven from her family's plantations. Dense with details about Virginia and New York politics, slave life and the workings of legislative and judicial systems, the novel is tremendously educational but is only fleetingly absorbing as fiction. Its plot and characters aren't vivid enough to transform a heavy load of facts and a dense narrative into an exciting read. (July)
Reviewed on: 06/03/1991
Release date: 06/01/1991
Genre: Fiction
Mass Market Paperbound - 978-0-517-09569-0
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