The Closet Indian wasn't written to fit conveniently into a category. To the author, it's a novel, but not the family saga it might have been; to some readers, it might seem better described as a collection of related short stories. To the literary agent who declined to try to find a publisher for it, it was "a remarkable evocation of life in a particular place and time."
That place is the American South. The time stretches from 1815 to 1952, longer than one man's lifetime. The book is not, in fact, about one man, but the author's gift is for intimate glimpses into everyday life and relationships rather than epic sweep, and the one man who serves as the focal point, the central character, to whom all the others somehow relate, is William Hamilton.
William is almost the very model of a Southern planter and gentleman, right down to being--mostly offstage--a (lieutenant) colonel in the Confederate army in the War Between the States. The book title‹inspired by an old American Indian Movement ad--comes from one of the ways he doesn't quite fit the archetype: his mother, Rebecca, is part Indian--probably Tuscarora, though she doesn't bother to tell William until he's grown and married.
William never tells his children at all, though he believes them doomed by his Indian blood--if not to "savagery and waywardness," at least to superstition and, perhaps, some real psychic talent. His daughter's daughter, Lynette, knows only about her mountain-born father's Cherokee blood. Together, Rebecca and Lynette, in Parts I and III, provide a look before and after William's day and help to place his world within a wider perspective. In between, William's relationships with other women (hiscousin Amy, an heiress who foresees her own death; Caroline, the coffee-with-cream colored girl he loves; Elizabeth, the blonde girl he marries) and with his friends (Amy's husband and Elizabeth's father) allow a double-edged view of both the status of women in Southern society and the plantation system which was its basis.
About the Author
BARBARA ROGERS grew up in North Carolina listening to old tales and trying to make sense of the parts that her own experience failed to explain. Her desire to understand what it would feel like to live in other times, places, cultures and situations spurred an early interest in languages, history and social studies, but she wound up where everybody else always knew she would, in the English Department. She got as far as a master's degree toward specializing in medieval literature, but didn't really want to be an academic and has worked at a variety of jobs-- most relevantly, as a newspaper feature writer and most irrelevantly, teaching ballet. She worked longest with computers, but lost interest in programming when it turned into writing little snippets of code to stick on buttons. She is currently trying to convince herself to write a novel with a less episodic plot, spending time with her Shetland sheepdog and practicing Tai Chi.
|Product dimensions:||5.94(w) x 8.96(h) x 0.48(d)|