A Wounded Thing Must Hide

A Wounded Thing Must Hide

by Jeremy Poolman
     
 

A vibrant, deeply personal portrait of the wife of General Custer.

Brilliant, inventive, but not in any conventional sense a biography, A Wounded Thing Must Hide is Jeremy Poolman's first foray into nonfiction, taking as its subject the fascinating wife of General Custer. He relates key scenes in Libbie's extraordinary life-her brushes with Empress

Overview

A vibrant, deeply personal portrait of the wife of General Custer.

Brilliant, inventive, but not in any conventional sense a biography, A Wounded Thing Must Hide is Jeremy Poolman's first foray into nonfiction, taking as its subject the fascinating wife of General Custer. He relates key scenes in Libbie's extraordinary life-her brushes with Empress Elizabeth of Austria, Tsar Alexander III, and Henry James, to name a few-each episode proving rich in relishably surreal detail. We see Libbie ferrying dung from Vienna to St. Petersburg (a present from empress to tsar, to ward off cholera and typhus); taking delivery of the present of a bear from Alex himself; stumbling into a soldier who might perhaps be the great-great-grandfather of Bob Dylan. Throughout it all, we catch glimpses of the glorious, wayward career of the General himself, culminating in the famous slaughter at Little Big Horn.

Far from an aridly factual outline of who did what where, Poolman offers us a vividly, tangibly real re-creation of historical events. He gets to places other biographies can't reach, bleeding, at times, into autobiography. Haunted by the death of his own wife, the narrator follows Libbie's itinerary in search of something unnamed in himself. Through exploring a widow's determination to protect her husband's damaged reputation, he hopes to find a way to deal with his personal loss. By exploring Libbie's and Custer's enduring love and devotion, he finds a form for his own.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“Highly readable...Poolman follows a zigzag path across continents, seeking Libbie Custer, but, more, seeking himself through all kinds of lenses, including the blurry vision of his often drunk, Custer-obsessed father; in the end, while meditative, this is not without its humorous moments, and reminiscent of Ross McElwee's curious documentary film Sherman's March (1986)-and just as brilliant...an intriguing addition to the Custer literature.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“An engaging narrative.” —Publishers Weekly

“A beguiling oddity...Though scene for scene the book is written with precision and clarity, the overall effect is something of a subconscious fugue state, in which the mind is flooded with bits and pieces of narrative, memory and thoughts...The mix is illogical and daring in the most precipitous ways, yet like many unlikely creations, it works.” —San Francisco Chronicle

“A writer of considerable verbal dexterity and razor-sharp insight...Poolman clearly brings extensive research and a keen intellect to the Libbie Custer story. ...Those who want to know about the heart's capacity for love and grief will find much to admire.” —Washington Post Book World

“Strong writing and emotional depth make Jeremy Poolman's book A Wounded Thing Must Hide a fascinating story. The author's fiercely original style sends readers reeling with thundering images and constant surprises...A Wounded Thing is refreshingly perceptive, universal and wise. Powerfully written, it leaves a reader exhilarated.” —Rocky Mountain News

“Jeremy Poolman eschews straight biography in favor of his fascinating and increasingly bizarre journey in the footsteps of Libbie Custer, wife of the General George Armstrong Custer... The narrative recreates the author's disoriented state of mind: Lines and passages from the Custer story thrust themselves into his first-person tales and vice versa, a technique that artfully keeps the reader off balance...The unusual - almost literally incredible - facts of his experiences and the ones he chooses to tell us about Libbie make the book a page turner. As his story and the Custers' both march toward the Last Stand, the two plot lines coalesce in a final, astounding occurance of coincidence or synchronicity or fate - by this time, you're not sure what forces are in command. Neither is Poolman, but he has marshaled them into a great read.” —Time Out New York

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781582342955
Publisher:
Bloomsbury USA
Publication date:
07/02/2003
Pages:
320
Product dimensions:
4.98(w) x 7.98(h) x 0.81(d)

Meet the Author

Jeremy Poolman was born and educated in England, but spends much of his time in the United States. He is the author of two novels.

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