Caleb Cheeshateaumauk was the first native American to graduate from Harvard College back in 1665. Caleb's Crossing gives voice to his little known story. Caleb, a Wampanoag from the island of Martha's Vineyard, seven miles off the coast of Massachusetts, comes of age just as the first generation of Indians come into contact with English settlers, who have fled there, desperate to escape the brutal and doctrinaire Puritanism of the Massachusetts Bay colony. The story is told through the eyes of Bethia, daughter of the English minister who educates Caleb in the Latin and Greek he needs in order to enter the college. As Caleb makes the crossing into white culture, Bethia, 14 years old at the novel's opening, finds herself pulled in the opposite direction. Trapped by the narrow strictures of her faith and her gender, she seeks connections with Caleb's world that will challenge her beliefs and set her at odds with her community.
©2011 Geraldine Brooks (P)2011 Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd
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"Caleb's Crossing a Challenge"
As an avid book reader, this presentation convinced me that I would probably not have finished the written version. Ms Ehle's concise rendition put me right there in that time zone and I could visualise the characters. She glided over the intense scholarly references and Latin quotations, which I might have baulked at, with ease, so that combined with Ms Brooks's writing technique, I became totally immersed right to the end. How interesting that the one review I read was a total contradiction of this view.
"Superb story and an exceptional presenter"
I came to know Geraldine Brooks' works when I had an extended stay in hospital some years ago. I came to know her as a gifted author with a rare gift for bringing history to life. In that same time I have become an Audible fan. I love the overall quality of the presentations I have heard. I note that two of Geraldine's books still are not available in audio formats, I hope that will be rectified soon.
I was excited to see the new book. I had no inkling at the beginning of what poor Caleb was crossing. I became immersed in the characters particularly Bethenie. I was fascinated by the tales of a very new Harvard - how could anyone then have foreseen what was to become one of the pre-eminent universities in the world. Learning about schooling in a hard land, the place of women, the struggle of life in a hard land for which the characters were not always equipped.
Through the story written by Brooks and narrated with a fine sense of the place of people throughout - excellent.
Jennifer Ehle made this story for me. The timbre, the overall quality of her voice and her timing as interwoven stories developed and reached their quite appropriate end, made me sad to be coming to the end of this story. Geraldine Brooks used old English and manufactures native indian language from one or more tribes - if I read this I would stumble. Jennifer Ehle nails the language structures gracefully. These language twists and turns a a very fascinating part of the overall story. And I have since completing the book gone a read-up on the early history of a great university.
Enjoy this one!
"An insight into a previously unknown history"
This novel introduced a part of history that had been unknown to me prior to listening to this recording. I found it most interesting to hear of the beginnings of Indian education and the strict views of Christianity at that time in Northern America.
This book is quite different to Geraldine Brooks previous novels. I do like her style of writing and that she researches the culture and historical periods in which she writes with great care. I cannot campare it with any other book as it is the first on this topic that I have come across.
Bethea the main character is my favourite because of her kindness, compassion, intelligence and determination.
Caleb is the most memorable character because of his tremendous transformation yet ability to understand both cultures.
I enjoyed this book very much.
"Not memorable but good to fill in time"
I have a love of Geraldine's books. This one however is not great. It lacks the depth and sincerity of previous offerings. I enjoyed it on a superficial level.
"A wonderful story beautifully written"
This in an interesting window into the world of the pilgrims and the customs and beliefs of some of the American Indians
The way the customs and practices of two different cultures are examined
It made me think about some ideas I have long taken for granted.
She read this well
Many of the characters are interesting, complex and believable.
The relationships between the characters was interesting
"A beautiful story"
I enjoyed Caleb's tale as told by Bethia Mayfield who in her own headstrong way set him up to receive the gifts of knowledge but at a significant cost.
Jennifer Ehle was excellent in this role.
I don't know how to describe my disappointment with this book. It was so hard to understand the story line. The audio was DREADFUL. I love Jennifer Ehle, in so many roles she has played, however she just couldn't get into any of the characters she was reading. Her voice was so monotone, her pronounciation was appalling, the entire book was just awful. I have re-listened to it, in the hope that I was not interpreting it correctly. Alas, no better. Sorry Jennifer, but this was certainly not one of your better performances,
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