Roxa

William Patrick, Author BOA Editions $10 (181p) ISBN 978-0-918526-69-4
Patrick, author of a book of poems, Letter to the Ghosts , blends seminal and sensitive verse and prose in a potent novel about a New York State farm family that braves illness, natural disaster and personal strife in the 1840s. Though the brutal realities of farm life are convincingly delineated, readers will be more intrigued by the cadences of multiple narrators and the diversity of their perspectives. These include the thunderous voice of matriarch Hannah, who calls on her kin to ``confess,'' ``repent'' and ``prepare'' for an impending Judgement Day; the hopeful adolescent Amelia, ever responsive to her physical surroundings (``I shiver and wait; I feel like the grouses are coming for me, only for me, as if I had some secret that they needed, and at dusk, as they fly, they seem big enough sometimes to lift me''); and Roxa, the youngest Culver, who anxiously describes the bad times in nursery rhymes (``Who let the dark and the snow begin? / I, said the wind'' refers to a freak June snowstorm that killed the Culvers' sheep). (May)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1989
Release date: 01/01/1989
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