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Reader! Reader!

Literary fiction, classics, dystopian, history, memoir, prize winners, and of course the 1001 books. You really might catch me reading anything!

Currently reading

Empire of Cotton: A Global History
Sven Beckert
Progress: 220/656 pages

Flight of the Sparrow

Flight of the Sparrow: A Novel of Early America - Amy Belding Brown

Mary Rowlandson was captured during King Philip's War, when a group of allied natives under King Phillip (Metacomet) raided various Puritan settlements in New England. She spent a few months as the slave of sachem Weetamoo and her husband Quinnapin. She is then ransomed and returned to the English. She later wrote the story of her captivity, which became the first published "captivity narrative" and the first woman-authored book in North America.

Using Rowlandson's narrative and other sources, Brown has novelized her story. And this novel is very compelling and is fast reading. She admits, in the reader's guide in the back of my edition, that she had to play a bit fast and loose to get the story. Known facts she left alone. But what was the relationship between Mary and her husband like? Did someone (who?) edit and add to her narrative, as it is so disjointed with random scriptural references throughout? What was the relationship between Mary and James Printer? And so on. There were Puritans who were anti-slavery and not anti-Indian (Eliot, who is in the novel), and there were Puritans who were expelled because they refused to follow the very strict rules (Anne Hutchison was one, and Brown refers to her).

I have requested her narrative from my library, as I want to read that and see if I feel the same misgivings that Brown did about the narrative. (Does it feel forced? Edited? Would the Puritans have permitted a woman's writing to NOT be edited by a man? Are there any hints of regret? Are her children mentioned at all?)