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اثر جرالدین بروکس از انتشارات تیسا - مترجم: یوسف سلیمان سالم-برندگان جوایز ادبی

An idealistic abolitionist, March has gone as chaplain to serve the Union cause. But the war tests his faith not only in the Union - which is also capable of barbarism and racism - but in himself. As he recovers from a near-fatal illness, March must reassemble and reconnect with his family, who have no idea of what he has endured. A love story set in a time of catastrophe, March explores the passions between a man and a woman, the tenderness of parent and child, and the life-changing power of an ardently held belief.

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I have wanted to read this book for years. Now that I have, Im left with the wish that Id stayed clear.

Its not that this is a terrible book. There are parts to this story I really enjoyed, and it served as a great reminder of how powerful Civil War historical fiction can be. But the characters? Other than Grace, I would say no thank you.

Now, Little Women is one of my all-time favorite books. That proved to be part of the problem. It was so weird to me that these fictional characters who had lived in their own little compartment in the world of imagination for so many years for me were now interacting with real life figures like Ralph Waldo Emmerson and Henry David Thoreau and John Brown. The March family sure did get around-- historical style.

Mr. March himself is insufferable. He is sanctimonious and always seems to do the exact wrong thing at the exact wrong time. Hes terrible to his wife, prizing public civility over her very human emotions. When one of his wealthy relatives more or less tries to buy his eldest daughter, Marmee is outraged, as nearly any parent would be in that situation. Mr. March is outraged too... at his wife. He actually makes her go apologize to this old bat. Hes also shocked that his daughter would lie to bounty hunters about the runaway slaves hiding in their house. Youll go to the trouble to hide slaves but lying to keep them safe is a shade too far? The man only seemed to evoke Christianity when it would do harm to others. The author changed so much about Alcotts characters, why not go that extra step and kill off dear Mr. March? He was certainly selfishly determined to do it, and at least the book would have had a satisfying ending.

Im only ever going to be able to enjoy Little Women again if I forget about this book.

مشاهده لینک اصلی
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 2006. Its a remarkable work of fiction deserving of all the acclaim it receives. Many reviewers and readers like to talk of its connection with Alcotts Little Women, and while there is a connection, it doesnt define what this novel is about at all. This book stands proudly on its own merit without any help from its famous connection. Other than the name and a few references to the little women at home, it has virtually no resemblance to Alcotts work, although Mrs. March is included throughout.
This story is about Mr. March, the husband and father of the famous family, and his pursuit of self perfection that leads him to join the Union army as a chaplain and help contribute to the cause of freeing the slaves. This was a cause dear to the March family as they had used their home as a stopover on the underground railroad. Mr. Marchs experiences during his year of service change his views from a glorified cause to the harsh reality that one person, do what they may, can never do enough to stop the tragic and inhumane treatment of an entire race of people. The events of the year and his personal failings along the way leave him broken and ashamed with little hope of recovery.
I would recommend this book to anyone, it truly is a modern classic.

مشاهده لینک اصلی
This was a fabulous read. I found it more moving and better written than The Known World which treats a similar subject. March and his quixotic battle against slavery and madness during the Civil War is compelling and beautiful. Geraldine Brooks writing is astounding and kept me turning pages because I had to know what was going to happen. Although the characters were inspired by Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, the story Brooks tells is gruesome and heartbreaking. It is not dissimilar to Dream of the Celt by Mario Vargas Llosa is its unqualified condemnation of the institution of slavery and the horrors that man is capable of inflicting on fellow humans in the delusion of feelings of superiority in terms of race - and this on both sides of the Mason-Dixon Line (see Pychons magnificent Mason&Dixon for how the line was drawn initially).
I can only applaud teary-eyed the Pulitzer that Brooks won after writing this stunning and thought-provoking novel and want to read more from this incredibly talented writer.

مشاهده لینک اصلی
I was all ready to give March by Geraldine Brooks three stars until I got to this passage:

@I am not alone in this. I only let him do to me what men have ever done to women: march off to empty glory and hollow acclaim and leave us behind to pick up the pieces. The broken cities, the burned barns, the innocent injured beasts, the ruined bodies of the boys we bore and the men we lay with.

The waste of it. I sit here, and I look at him, and it is as if a hundred women sit beside me: the revolutionary farm wife, the English peasant woman, the Spartan mother-Come back with your shield or on it, she cried, because that was what she was expected to cry. And then she leaned across the broken body of her son and the words turned to dust in her throat.@

If you were ever a little girl in America, chances are you have read Louisa May Alcotts Little Women. You probably grew up with Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy. You experienced their life living with their mother while their father was off serving the Union Army in the Civil War. You felt their excitement whenever Marmee would read them a letter from him. You know how Marmee was called away to help her beloved husband recover from some unnamed illness in an army hospital. What you never got was a real glimpse of the adult lives that circled around the March girls. In fact, you never even learn their parents first names.

Geraldine Brooks must have had the same fascination with Little Women that so many of us former little girls did. She takes that fascination and fleshes out the story of Mr. and Mrs. March. The story opens with March (never a first name) writing a letter home to Marmee. (We find that Marmee is was everyone called her, not just the girls.) As he finishes his writing, the story takes us to the uncensored version of his past and what is happening to him at the moment. Its not all as he portrays in his letters. Hes kind of interesting at first, but he gets kind of dull pretty quickly. The guy is just too emotional and flowery. What is interesting is his recollections of Marmee. She is by far a much more interesting character and the story definitely takes off once she takes over the narration in the second part of the book, when she comes to the hospital to nurse her husband back to health. Up until that point, I was thinking that this book was definitely a 3. I was kind of wondering what the competition was for the Pulitzer that year. I do have to give Brooks credit for trying to add a new, adult dimension to a nationally loved work of childrens literature. I think she did a good job of creating something fresh while honoring the classic.

مشاهده لینک اصلی
The best Civil War novel I’ve read. The best slavery novel I’ve read. One of the best historical novels I’ve ever read, period. Brooks’s second novel uses Little Women as its jumping-off point, but is very much its own story. Louisa May Alcott’s father, Bronson Alcott, was too prickly to come across well in a fictional guise (as her other family members did in Little Women), so it’s little wonder that she decided he would be a background figure in that novel. The Alcott family patriarch was an eccentric idealist whose endeavors, including the doomed Fruitlands utopian community, often failed. Many dismissed him as a religious fanatic, and his vegan diet was considered beyond the pale at that time. Brooks relied on Bronson Alcott’s journals and letters in creating Mr. March’s voice, but has succeeded in adding nuance to an often unfairly maligned personality.

The book opens with March, a thirty-nine-year-old Civil War chaplain, stationed in Norfolk, Virginia and writing a letter to his wife and four daughters. The image of the placid family home quickly fades as we see a vulture eating a man’s entrails and another soldier drowning in a river. The beleaguered March soon finds himself in a familiar building: the field hospital where he goes to assist with blood-spurting amputations was once a mansion where he plied his trade as an eighteen-year-old peddler. Before being hastily ejected for trying to teach a Negro child to read, he fell in love with Grace, a dignified, intelligent slave.

Although most chapters open with his missives home, this domestic link becomes increasingly strained as March continues on a solitary odyssey he doubts his all-female family could ever understand; “imagining the four beloved heads, sleeping peacefully on their pillows in Concord” is increasingly difficult, such that “truth recedes with every word I set down.” Through flashbacks we learn how he met Marmee; spend time in the company of their Massachusetts neighbors, Henry David Thoreau and the Emersons; and hear about their abolitionist ventures: housing an Underground Railroad station and giving financial support to John Brown’s ill-fated plans. In the 50 pages when March is incapacitated by fever, we see the reeking swamp that was 1860s Washington, D.C. and the “inconstant, ruined dreamer” that was March/Bronson Alcott through Marmee’s eyes. The whole is a perfect mixture of what’s familiar from history and literature and what Brooks has imagined. Stellar stuff.

(See also my Literary Hub article on rereading Little Women in its 150th anniversary year and watching the new BBC/PBS miniseries adaptation.)

مشاهده لینک اصلی
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