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Reviews 391 time against space, and poses questions about the injuries inflicted by the former and the healing possible from the latter. Land is the only recoverable value in the narrative; and in the end the almost treeless—and duckless— farm is inherited by two men, both virtual orphans, to whom it represents at best a dubious pastoral. Winterchill covers four generations of the Clark family and charts what would be reckoned by most its rise to prosperity. But there is a strong populist strain throughout, and the wealthy are seen in a uniformly bad light. Economic problems are at the center of every chapter, and characters are judged on how gracefully they withstand the pressures of poverty. It is also significant that in this family-centered chronicle there are no satisfactory husband-wife, parent-child, or sibling relationships. Winterchill is a novel about what is missing in the lives of its characters. By fragmenting the narrative into seven sections, Finney has sought to convey the themes of betrayal and loss, focusing attention upon three characters who are in effect orphans, as was Grandpa Clark. Despite the fragmentation, the narrative order is cunningly symmetrical. Finney takes great risks with this novel, for the attrition of betrayal and lost love is a difficult theme to convey in a narrative of broken pieces. Winter­ chill must work by suggestion and nuance and gesture, the all-or-nothing gamble of the short story. In almost every case it succeeds, and rewards the most careful reading. Its most risky gamble is the weight placed on the role of Gerald, son of the ranch’s ex-foreman: he has two of the three first-person sections and they dominate the plot arrangement and the narrative present, signaling him as the central consciousness. However, from the evidence of “Birds Landing, 1972-1979,” when he is age ten to seventeen, and “California Blue, 1988-1989,” when he is an expensively educated adult, I have an incom­ plete sense of an autonomous self and its relationship, temporally and psychic­ ally, to the events portrayed. But whether or not this problem seems serious, Winterchill is an important novel for the region because it so skillfully evokes essences of California’s past and present, country and city, wealth and poverty, and because it does not fall prey to any of the clichés which attend those pairings. Ernest J. Finney is a subtle thinker and a very fine writer. KERRY AHEARN Oregon State University No Resting Place. By William Humphrey. (New York: Delacorte Press/ Seymour Lawrence, 1989. 249 pages, $18.95.) The removal of the Five Civilized Tribes of southeastern Indians and the tragedy of the Cherokees has been told many times, most recently in John Ehle’s Trail of Tears, but aside from Denton R. Bedford’s Tsali, William Humphrey’s No Resting Place is the only novel to deal with the subject. The 392 Western American Literature story is an infuriating case of injustice and inhumanity. Though the Cherokees had been Andrew Jackson’s allies at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend, had become literate thanks to Sequoyah’s syllabary, and had become peaceful, civilized farmers, Jackson betrayed them and encouraged Georgia to persecute them. They were driven from their ancestral homes by land-hungry whites, forbidden to worship communally (white missionaries to them were imprisoned in defi­ ance of a Supreme Court decision), to mine gold on their own land, to speak in their own defense, to testify against a white. Thus any white could forge a deed of sale to a Cherokee’s land, and the owner’s protests would not be heard in court. This is what happens to the grandfather of Adam Ferguson, a mixed-blood teenage boy who is the novel’s protagonist. Adam’s father is a doctor, and his grandfather David, owner of a plantation with an impressive library of classical literature, wears Highland garb when he has Scottish guests. The Cherokees were divided between two factions—the Ridge party, who voluntarily moved west by riverboat, and the others who resisted until forced into concentration camps and then driven under armed guard on a death march to the “dark land” that became...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1948-7142
Print ISSN
0043-3462
Pages
pp. 391-392
Launched on MUSE
2017-10-04
Open Access
No
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