In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

Reviews 389 country is suspicious ofchange, believing that it means disrupting an order that has been tested and proven.” Fate had swept the parents, Petya and Maitia, out of that timeless setting and to America and new lives. Petya, a young shepherd, had witnessed a murder; fraud denied Maitia, already stigmatized by illegitimacy (she is a “child of the holy ghost” in village idiom), of her rightful inheritance. These events precipitated degrees of change in course that each might never have realized otherwise. With Pete, the reader discovers some of the myriad human incidents that cause people to leave an ancestral land, and the reasons some stay attached to it and others do not. As it had with the parents, chance intervenes to cause the son, who has returned to the Basque homeland solely to study its folkways, to delve into their stories, specifically that of Maitia. Pete had discovered from his distraught mother before he left Nevada the fact of illegitimacy. Then, he had scoffed at her concern and shame with “Middle Ages nonsense” in the context of twenti­ eth-century Carson City, another world, another time. Later, when a social situation on the visit makes apparent that the ancestral village of Donibane had long ago closed in around her story, he determines to find out why. “I did not dream then what havoc the fact ofillegitimacy could wreak in the Old Country way,”he then says of his mother’s revelation. “I had hit the nail on the head. It was Middle Ages stuffas surely and as horribly as witchcraft.” It is that “Middle Ages stuff’which informs this novel about Pete’sjourney. Like the earlier work, it is time itselfwhich pulls Child oftheHoly Ghostinto the mainstream ofworld fiction. BILL BAINES TruckeeMeadows Community College Kaleidoscope: Stories of the American Experience. Edited by Barbara Perkins and George Perkins. (New York: Oxford University Press, 1993. 678 pages, $19.95.) The Perkinses try their hands at that most difficult of American academic literary genres—the anthology. For the most part, they succeed, making the multiculturalism that is America their own. Like Crevecoeur, they wish to answer the nagging enigmatic question, “what is an American?”The selections focus on the moments of contact, when the protagonist reaches beyond to touch and identify the other, yet touch the sameness in the other. In that swirling whirlpool, the frontier appears in many guises, fluid rather than like a wall or barrier. The frontier transforms to a place where anything can happen, and nothing is as it appears. From a western vantage, the editors include the expected texts from Bradford, Rowlandson, Cabeza de Vaca, de Champlain, and Parkman. The editors begin exclusively with nonfiction accounts of first encounters. The 390 WesternAmerican Literature anthology gradually changes over to fiction in the selections dating from the antebellum period. The middle section dwells heavily upon urban, immigrant experiences, which might prove problematic to western literature instructors. Nevertheless, the anthology has potential as a standard text, since it samples the teeming variety of American experience. But any western literature format requires supplementing Kaleidoscope with additional works particular to the instructor’s needs. One glaring omission I will touch on is the lack of an “additional readings”section following each selection. As one who often devel­ ops reading lists from anthologies, I was disappointed by this lack. The section covering post-World War II America is particularly useful to instructors of western American literature, with the majority of selections from Asian and Native American authors, such asAmy Tan, Leslie Silko,John Okada, Louise Erdrich, and N. Scott Momaday. Though at odds with earlier accounts, these authors also address Crevecoeur’s query. At times haphazard, the anthology’sstrength is in its diversity, a geographi­ cal and cultural zigzag. The editors admit “cultural cohesiveness [can] never be whole and complete.”For Barbara and George Perkins, the magical transforma­ tion into “American” exists, though not at the expense of cultural expression. Their anthology is one such colorful expression. CATHY A. GRAY Pinhham’s Grant, New Hampshire The Masked Bobwhite Rides Again. ByJohn Alcock. (Tucson: The University of Arizona Press, 1993. 186 pages, $35.00/$16.95.) Zoologists, particularly, will remember Alcock for his...

pdf

Additional Information

ISSN
1948-7142
Print ISSN
0043-3462
Pages
pp. 389-390
Launched on MUSE
2017-10-04
Open Access
No
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.