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The trajectory of Elijah’s army career parallels the ...
The trajectory of Elijah’s army career parallels the nation’s imperial adventures in the late nineteenth century: subduing Native Americans in the West and quelling rebellion in the Philippines. Haunted by the terrors endured by black Americans and by his part in persecuting other people of color, Elijah is sustained only by visions, memories, prayers, and his questing spirit—which ultimately finds a home when his troop is posted to guard the newly created Yosemite National Park in 1903. Here, living with little beyond mountain light, cold rivers, campfires, and stars, he becomes a man who owns himself completely, while knowing he’s left pieces of himself scattered along his life’s path like pebbles on a creekbed.
Elijah's narrative voice—poetic, rhythmically cadenced, ranging freely through time—makes this novel a literary meditation on finding a self and a spiritual home, while unveiling a little-known chapter of America’s past.
Posted June 4, 2010
A truly remarkable story.
Shelton has shown an absolutely astonishing gift of bringing the character, times and events to "life".
His prose is poignant and real to the times and experiences of an African American rising from smothering racism and illiteracy in the South to a man of insight and sheer poetry in bringing the Yosemite valley to life.
Posted May 25, 2010
I confess that I'm a sucker for good historical fiction. So, Mr. Johnson's story about a Buffalo Soldier had instant appeal. What I wasn't anticipating was the author's poetic voice. While the plot is both interesting and entertaining, it was Johnson's use of language that resulted in me reading this novel in one sitting.
His descriptions of Yosemite are extremely descriptive, yet still efficient. And his transcendental musings about the meaning of home and spirituality and their relationship to the natural world make this a memorable novel.
I am now highly anticipating how Johnson follows this book up.
Posted February 14, 2010