i read the back blurb of this book because it said “winner of the 2006 pulitzer prize” on the cover. And as i started reading it, realized that it documents the fictional life of mr. march, the father of the louisa may alcott’s little women.
then, of course, a tingle of anticipation went up my spine.
march has joined the unionist cause in the civil war in an idealistic fervor, but the harsh realities of a brutal war and his subsequent disillusionment lead him to question his faith and the moral code of the world he lives in. filled with beautiful prose and vivid portrayals of famous characters in history (emerson! thoreau! john brown!) – i really can’t recommend this highly enough – its depiction of the politics of the civil war is gray enough to be realistic and really helped me understand a political landscape that i had always imagined was fairly straightforward. this novel explains how complex it really was. and judging from the most recent elections in the United States, the politics has only gotten more complex (and polarized) as time has gone by.
i have read a couple of other novels by geraldine brooks: year of wonders and people of the book and i must say i am constantly impressed by her stunning narration and engaging characters.