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In this engrossing three-generation family saga, David E. Manley utilized diaries, correspondence, and newspaper and journal coverage of the times to present a composite portrait of his grandfather, his parents, an his own "growing up" years from colonial India to the prune fields of northern California. His tale is, in a sense, about the conflict between cultures; but it is also about the interplay between members of one family-- how they love one another, how they test one another, and how they all grow up. Through his painstaking research David explores family myths that have mystified him since childhood, reveals skeletons and treasures in his family's past. Through David's eyes we experience Healdsburg and the neighboring Russian River communities in the 1930s and 1940s; colonial and missionary life in India; World War II in both India and in small-town America; heroes, friends, sex, sports, careers, literature, music, art, and even prune-picking.
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Using letters, diaries, newspaper coverage and vivid descriptions of landscapes, wildlife and history, Manley offers a finely crafted autobiography that reads like a coming-of-age novel. Manley's narrative, like his young life, is bifurcated by his family's travels but he captures both the essence of his exotic life in India and the poignancy of an ordinary American youth. His father, the steadfast and pragmatic Jesse, had moved to India after realizing that he could not make a steady living being an artist. There he met Manley's mother, the descendant of missionaries. In India, Manley's life was something most American children couldn't begin to imagine. "One day, when I was being put down for a nap, my mother suddenly but calmly ordered me to stand on my bed. There was a large scorpion crawling across the floor that she efficiently dispatched." Looking for new opportunities, Jesse returned to America, later sending for his wife and son who, lacking citizenship, were imprisoned until Jesse managed to get them released. It is in California that Manley finally discovers he was not Jesse's son. "I know I watched Jesse closely, appraising him anew, seeing him in a different light. This is our secret, Mother had said." Luckily, Manley's loyalty wasn't predicated on some accident of biology. It is a relationship that gives him strength, perhaps even more so for being chosen.
Copyright 1997 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description Strawberry Hill Pr, 1997. Paperback. Condition: New. Never used!. Seller Inventory # P110894070908
Book Description Strawberry Hill Pr, 1997. Paperback. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M0894070908