A triumph of the imagination and a masterpiece of modern storytelling, Cloudsplitter is narrated by the enigmatic Owen Brown, last surviving son of America's most famous and still controversial political terrorist and martyr, John Brown. Deeply researched, brilliantly plotted, and peopled with a cast of unforgettable characters both historical and wholly invented, Cloudsplitter is dazzling in its re-creation of the political and social landscape of our history during the years before the Civil War, when slavery was tearing the country apart. But within this broader scope, Russell Banks has given us a riveting, suspenseful, heartbreaking narrative filled with intimate scenes of domestic life, of violence and action in battle, of romance and familial life and death that make the reader feel in astonishing ways what it is like to be alive in that time.
"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.
The cover of Russell Banks's mountain-sized novel Cloudsplitter features an actual photo of Owen Brown, the son of John Brown--the hero of "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" whose terrorist band murdered proponents of slavery in Kansas and attacked Harpers Ferry, Virginia, in 1859 on what he considered direct orders from God, helping spark the Civil War.
A deeply researched but fictionalized Owen narrates this remarkably realistic and ambitious novel by the already distinguished author of The Sweet Hereafter. Owen is an atheist, but he is as haunted and dominated by his father, John Brown, as John was haunted by an angry God who demanded human sacrifice to stop the abomination of slavery. Cloudsplitter takes you along on John Brown's journey--as period-perfect as that of the Civil War deserter in Cold Mountain--from Brown's cabin facing the great Adirondack mountain (called "the Cloudsplitter" by the Indians) amid an abolitionist settlement the blacks there call "Timbuctoo," to the various perilous stops of the Underground Railroad spiriting slaves out of the South, and finally to the killings in Bloody Kansas and the Harpers Ferry revolt. We meet some great names--Frederick Douglass, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and a (fictional) lover of Nathaniel Hawthorne--but the vast book keeps a tight focus on the aged Owen's obsessive recollections of his pa's crusade and the emotional shackles John clamped on his own family.
Banks, a white author, has tackled the topic of race as impressively as Toni Morrison in novels such as Continental Drift. What makes Cloudsplitter a departure for him is its style and scope. He is noted as an exceptionally thorough chronicler of America today in rigorously detailed realist fiction (he championed Snow Falling on Cedars). Banks spent half a decade researching Cloudsplitter, and he renounces the conventional magic of his poetical prose style for a voice steeped in the King James Bible and the stately cadences of 19th-century political rhetoric. The tone is closer to Ken Burns's tragic, elegiac The Civil War than to the recent crazy-quilt modernist novel about John Brown, Raising Holy Hell.
A fan of Banks's more cut-to-the-chase, Hollywood-hot modern style may get impatient, but such readers can turn to, say, Gore Vidal's recently reissued Lincoln, which peeks into the Great Emancipator's head with a modern's cynical wit. Banks's narrator is poetical and witty at times--Owen notes, "The outrage felt by whites [over slavery] was mostly spent on stoking their own righteousness and warming themselves before its fire." Yet in the main, Banks writes in the "elaborately plainspoken" manner of the Browns, restricting himself to a sober style dictated by the historical subject.
Besides, John Brown's head resembles the stone tablets of Moses. You do not penetrate him, and you can't declare him mad or sane, good or evil. You read, struggling to locate the words emanating from some strange place between history, heaven, and hell.From the Publisher:
10 1.5-hour cassettes
"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.
Book Description Harper Perennial. PAPERBACK. Book Condition: New. 0060930861 Never Read-Listed 12+ year old paperback- may some wear to the cover or edges including slightly tanned pages due to age-price sticker on cover or inside cover-publishers mark- I ship FAST with FREE tracking!!. Bookseller Inventory # SKU000023344
Book Description Harper Perennial 1999-01-27, 1999. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 1st HarperPerennial. 0060930861 Brand new and ships pronto! 100% Guarantee. Bookseller Inventory # BOOKS67-9780060930868-11-12677
Book Description Harper Perennial 1999-01-27, 1999. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 1st HarperPerennial. 0060930861 Brand new and ships pronto! 100% guarantee. Multiple quanities available. Bookseller Inventory # BOOKS92-9780060930868-11-7769
Book Description Book Condition: New. Depending on your location, this item may ship from the US or UK. Bookseller Inventory # 97800609308680000000
Book Description Harper Collins Publishers. Book Condition: New. Brand New. Bookseller Inventory # 0060930861
Book Description Paperback. Book Condition: BRAND NEW. BRAND NEW. Fast Shipping. Prompt Customer Service. Satisfaction guaranteed. Bookseller Inventory # 0060930861BNA
Book Description HARPER COLLINS, 1999. PAP. Book Condition: New. New Book.Shipped from US within 10 to 14 business days. Established seller since 2000. Bookseller Inventory # IB-9780060930868
Book Description Harpercollins, 1999. PAP. Book Condition: New. New Book. Shipped from US within 10 to 14 business days. Established seller since 2000. Bookseller Inventory # KB-9780060930868
Book Description Softcover. Book Condition: New. New. This item is new unopened, never used and still in its original manufacturer condition. Tracking number will be provided to you so that you may track your order (for all USA orders). Bookseller Inventory # 9028455
Book Description Harper Perennial, 1999. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # 0060930861