Ghost Woman CL

Lawrence Thornton, Author Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) $19.95 (302p) ISBN 978-0-395-61592-8
Based on a Native American legend of a solitary, apparation-like woman who once roamed the California coast, Thornton's ( Imagining Argentina ) deeply felt but overly schematic new novel tells the story of Sage, a Chumash Indian woman, and her tragic encounter with white civilization. When her entire village is captured and enslaved and her infant daughter dies, Sage is left behind to wander her island home for 10 years. Finally, she too is caught and turned over to Spanish priest Fray Santos, who is determined that she will become a Christian. Given a new name, Soledad, and forcibly indoctrinated with Christian theology, she is installed in the household of rancher Henry Harper, whose pious wife Elizabeth becomes her protector. Harper, however, rapes Soledad, impregnating her. Soledad hangs herself, beginning a cycle of blackmail, incest and ultimate retribution that spans two generations. Trying to give his story Obviously aspiring to mythic proportions, Thornton attempts to invest Soledad's life and ghostly legacy with mystical significance, but the portentous prose fails to resonate; after a compelling beginning, the narrative is often inert and contrived. The book's impact lies in its wider implications: Thornton's depiction of the injustice inflicted on Native Americans, much of it in the name of religion, and its lasting damage. Author tour. (June)
Reviewed on: 06/01/1992
Release date: 06/01/1992
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 302 pages - 978-0-520-22068-3
Portable Document Format (PDF) - 302 pages - 978-0-520-92373-7
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