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The Night Travelers
     

The Night Travelers

by Elizabeth Spencer
 

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Set in the 1960's The Night Travelers, portrays America under the shadow of the Vietnam War and the counterculture that developed in opposition to the war. The characters reflect a time when often violent pressures affected the American community and family life. Kate Harbison is a socially ambitious scientist whose life revolves around her work, which

Overview

Set in the 1960's The Night Travelers, portrays America under the shadow of the Vietnam War and the counterculture that developed in opposition to the war. The characters reflect a time when often violent pressures affected the American community and family life. Kate Harbison is a socially ambitious scientist whose life revolves around her work, which includes testing chemical weapons on animals for the military. Kate's daughter, Mary, who cares little for social distinction, falls in love with Jeff, an antiwar activist. Mary and Jeff's life involves traveling at night on the run to escape the draft by crossing the border into Canada. Ultimately, the story reveals that only death can destroy the ties that bind.

Elizabeth Spencer is the author of nine novels, including The Voice at the Back Door, The Salt Line, and This Crooked Way; four short fiction collections; and a memoir. Born and raised in Mississippi, she lived in Montreal from 1958 to 1986 and now makes her home in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and a charter member of the Fellowship of Southern Writers.

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 - 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:
9781892323781
Publisher:
Vivisphere Publishing
Publication date:
03/28/1999
Pages:
380
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.85(d)

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