The Night Travellers

The Night Travellers

by Elizabeth Spencer
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

Elizabeth Spencer is “a master storyteller” (San Francisco Chronicle), her work called “dazzling” by Walker Percy. Whether she’s writing short stories or novels, Spencer is acclaimed for holding her worlds up to light and turning them to see what they reflect. The Night Travellers, set in North Carolina and Montreal

Overview

Elizabeth Spencer is “a master storyteller” (San Francisco Chronicle), her work called “dazzling” by Walker Percy. Whether she’s writing short stories or novels, Spencer is acclaimed for holding her worlds up to light and turning them to see what they reflect. The Night Travellers, set in North Carolina and Montreal during the Vietnam War years, is her most revealing work yet.

Mary Kerr Harbison is a promising teenaged dancer when she meets Jefferson Blaise, an intellectual radical-in-the-making. He becomes a part of her life and over the objections of Mary’s wealthy, abusive mother, her husband.

But although Jeff’s heart is devoted to Mary, his life is devoted to protesting the Vietnam War—at first through the public rallies, later through guerilla tactics. As Jeff is drawn deeper and deeper into the movement, he and Mary are forced to go underground and eventually move to Canada. Jeff’s activities keep him on the move, and Mary, living in Montreal, struggles to raise her daughter and make a life for herself.

An exploration of a dramatic period in our history, The Night Travellers is a powerful depiction of lives forever changed by political beliefs and fervidly held convictions.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Spencer's (The Jack of Hearts ) fiction is always cause for celebration. This novel, a Greek tragedy in modern dress, concerns a generation of wasted lives--the Vietnam War protesters who went into hiding or exile and lost their youth and, sometimes, their future. In sure and luminous prose, Spencer follows Mary Kerr Harbison, born into a distinguished Southern family, who loses her adored father at a young age and is left in the steely grasp of her cold, abusive mother. A promising dancer, Mary gives up her career when she falls in love with Jefferson Blaise, a brilliant social activist finishing his doctoral dissertation with a liberal professor/mentor who encourages Jeff to speak out against the war. ``He is my destiny,'' Mary says of Jeff; what she does not know is that they will be star-crossed. They marry and have a daughter; become fugitives in Montreal; separate when Jeff is forced to go underground. Abandoned by the people Jeff has trusted to take care of her, Mary finds herself in an exorable downward spiral; she almost loses her life, and her child. For while Jeff acts out of conviction, Mary is the victim of love and of fate. Handled with subtlety and grace, the narrative becomes gripping as Mary's mother and stepfather intervene and cause the final tragedy. This is a story so credible it evokes a shock of recognition, so moving it will make your heart ache. (Aug.)
Library Journal
A haunting examination of another group of casualties of Vietnam--those who protested the war, evaded the draft, and became displaced (sometimes with loved ones) in Canada. Mary Kerr Harbison, whose well-bred widowed mother can turn abusive, is a gifted young dancer who wants only to dance. But she is drawn to brilliant political activist Jefferson Blaise, who won't stay away and becomes her lover, her husband, and her destiny. Jeff's destiny, however, is to act on his beliefs, becoming more deeply involved in dangerous antiwar activities and sweeping Mary along in the wake of unalterable events. The elements which distinguish Spencer's fiction (e.g., The Salt Line, LJ 1/84, Light in the Piazza , 1960) are here: richly plotted narrative told in diverse voices, with fluid shifts in time and a keen sense of place, and prose remarkable for its clarity and style. Here the subject is worthy of her art. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 4/15/91.-- Michele Leber, Fairfax Cty. P.L., Va.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781617032400
Publisher:
University Press of Mississippi
Publication date:
02/23/2012
Series:
Banner Books Series
Pages:
378
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.10(d)

Meet the Author


Elizabeth Spencer is the author of nine novels, seven collections of short stories, a memoir, and a play. Her novella The Light in the Piazza (1960) was adapted for the screen in 1962 and transformed into a Tony-winning Broadway musical of the same name in 2005. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and a charter member of the Fellowship of Southern Writers.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >