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by William T. Vollmann

ePub Fathers and Crows: Volume Two of Seven Dreams: A Book of North American Landscapes download
Author:
William T. Vollmann
ISBN13:
978-0140167177
ISBN:
014016717X
Language:
Publisher:
Penguin Books (August 1, 1993)
Category:
Subcategory:
Genre Fiction
ePub file:
1902 kb
Fb2 file:
1162 kb
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Rating:
4.3
Votes:
669

William T. Vollmann is the author of ten novels, including Europe Central, which won the National Book Award. This continues as the second of "Seven Dreams," a septology projecting across North America the past millennium as envisioned by natives and settlers.

William T. He has also written four collections of stories, including The Atlas, which won the PEN Center USA West Award for Fiction, a memoir, and six works of nonfiction, including Rising Up and Rising Down and Imperial, both of which were finalists for the National Book Critics Circle Award. He is the recipient of a Whiting Writers Award and the Strauss Living Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Seven Dreams: A Book of North American Landscapes is a series of novels by William T. Vollmann about the settlement of North America and the conflicts between natives and settlers. Each volume focuses on a different episode in North American history, with most also including digressions and chronological departures. The series will comprise seven novels; five books have been published so far.

Fathers and Crows: Volume Two of Seven Dreams: A Book of North . It focuses on the Inuit, who were introduced in that initial Dream, but moves between Vollmann's 1988 and 1991 visits to the Canadian north more evenly

Only 11 left in stock (more on the way). It focuses on the Inuit, who were introduced in that initial Dream, but moves between Vollmann's 1988 and 1991 visits to the Canadian north more evenly.

From the National Book Award-winning author of Europe Central – a hugely original fictional history of Pocahontas, John .

From the National Book Award-winning author of Europe Central – a hugely original fictional history of Pocahontas, John Smith, and the Jamestown colony in Virginia. Vollmann about the . Volume 1: The Ice-Shirt (1990) is about the arrival of the Vikings in North America (9th–10th centuries)

Seven Dreams: A Book of North American Landscapes is a series of novels by William T.

Volume Two of Seven Dreams: A Book of North American Landscapes

Volume Two of Seven Dreams: A Book of North American Landscapes. By William T. Vollmann. Part of Seven Dreams. Category: Literary Fiction Historical Fiction. With the same panoramic vision and mythic sensibility he brought to The Ice-Shirt, William T. Vollmann continues his hugely original fictional history of the clash of Indians and Europeans in the New World. It is 400 years ago, and the Black Gowns, French Jesuit priests, are beginning their descent into the forests of Canada, eagerly seeking to convert the Huron–and courting martyrdom at the hands of the rival Iroquois.

Volume 2: Fathers and Crows (1992) is about the . The Ice-Shirt is a 1990 historical novel by American author William T. Vollmann, it is the first book in a seven-book series called Seven Dreams: A Book of North American Landscapes

Volume 2: Fathers and Crows (1992) is about the efforts of Jesuit missionaries in Canada (16th–18th centuries). Volume 3: Argall (2001), written in a 17th-century prose style, is about the settlement of Jamestown (17th century). Vollmann, it is the first book in a seven-book series called Seven Dreams: A Book of North American Landscapes. The Ice-Shirt is set in the 10th century A. D. and chronicles the arrival of the Norse people in Greenland and the Arctic.

II of Seven Dreams: A Book of North American Landscapes. Vollmann Viking. Now come Fathers and Crows, his longest novel to date, and An Afghanistan Picture Show, his first book of straight nonfiction. These genre distinctions are misleading, however: Much of Vollmann's fiction uses nonfictional materials and techniques, and the author is ever-present in his work, popping up in the most unlikely places (11th-century Iceland, for example) to make an observation.

Volume Two of Seven Dreams: A Book of North American Landscapes. Paperback published 1993-08-01 by Penguin Books. Alert if: New Price below.

The story of the wars of belief between the French Jesuits and the Iroquois in sixteenth- to eighteenth-century Canada – from the author of Europe Central, winner of the National Book AwardWatch for Vollmann’s new work of nonfiction, No Immediate Danger, coming in April of 2018With the same panoramic vision and mythic sensibility he brought to The Ice-Shirt, William T. Vollmann continues his hugely original fictional history of the clash of Indians and Europeans in the New World. It is 400 years ago, and the ?Black Gowns,? French Jesuit priests, are beginning their descent into the forests of Canada, eagerly seeking to convert the Huron--and courting martyrdom at the hands of the rival Iroquois. Through the eyes of these vastly different peoples--particularly through those of the grimly pious Father Jean de Brebeuf and the Indian prophetess Born Underwater--Vollmann reconstructs America?s past as tragedy, nightmare, and bloody spectacle. In the process, he does nothing less than reinvent the American novel as well.
  • WOW! The more I read of Vollman, the more I'm impressed, this being my third novel and second in his Seven Dreams sequence. Primarily historical fiction (in this case about the settling of Canada in the 17th century and the relationship between the Jesuits and the Hurons), Vollman inserts surrealism, magic realism, postmodern techniques, myth and legend, and metafiction to tell a story all his own. Very long, I didn't begrudge a page of it and am looking forward to the Third Dream, Argall. Vollman's historical fiction, whether Europe Central (about Europe, primarily Germany and USSR, in the middle of the 20th century) or the Seven Dreams (about the collision of Europeans with native American populations) is certainly not to everyone's taste but I strongly recommend everyone at least give it a try. Fathers and Crows was a great read and completely changed my perspective on about what happened to Northeast Indian nations, i.e. the Huron, the Iroquois, Algonquins, etc.

  • Vollmann is a remarkable writer and "Fathers and Crows" shows him at the top of his form. I would recommend this book to any reader of current fiction as one not to be missed.

  • I'm a Vollmann fan, think Europe Central is one of the best works in English of this century, but this is almost impossible to read. Not Finnegan's Wake impossible - there are narrator voices, sometimes, and at times a discernible plot behind the thicket of language, but wading through it is a thankless task. Much more like an 1000-page prose poem than a novel. Sentences go on for pages, containing dozens of clauses and countless adjectives and adverbs. I'm not saying there's nothing of value to be found in this book, but the work and mainly the time it would to retrieve it is more than I (a serious and ambitious reader) am willing to sacrifice.

  • Very hard to read. Written in the language of the times. Fascinating in small bites.

  • hard to read as the indentations don't let me know who is talking. But is interesting.

  • Vollman's style is as unsettling as it is, ultimately, accessible. I nearly abandoned the book after the first chapter but stuck with it and, in the end, was sad when it ended. It wound up being a tale well researched and well told.

    Vollman is at his best when he gets inside the characters' heads. The Jesuits are portrayed as condescending toward the people they hope to convert and openly contemptuous of their mom-Christian religious beliefs. For their part, some of the natives only pretend to be receptive to the preaching, due to their ineffable politeness and a desire to curry favor with Europeans to obtain things made of iron.

    Vollman has a wonderful, if dark, sense of humor. I loved the scene where Indians, canoing with Champlain as passenger, ticked him off by saying they could not take him back home yet as planned. When Champlain began openly expressing his annoyance (a display seen by natives as childish) they joined together to cheer him up as they paddled, shouting his name (pronounced by them as "Chawain") until he started laughing.

    His original style takes some getting used to, part of the reason I nearly put the book down in the beginning.

    If you are faint of heart, you might want to steer clear of this book. Vollman d scribes in great detail incidents where the Indians revel in the slow, but politely administered, torture of captives from rival tribes.

  • This continues as the second of "Seven Dreams," a septology projecting across North America the past millennium as envisioned by natives and settlers. Here, Vollmann begins to get the hang of his own attempt to present, through the Micmac woman Born Swimming's dream of a dream of a dream, the clash between those now called in Canada the First Nations, in Acadia and along the St. Lawrence, and the French who sailed up those shores eager for furs, riches, and souls. Vollmann in the first segment, "The Ice-Shirt" (1990; also reviewed by me), had labored, overall successfully, to integrate Norse sagas and modern reporting from Greenland, Baffin Island, and what was Vinland and is now Newfoundland, but certain tonal shifts and thematic leaps made that ambitious start rather uneven. All the same, it marked a talent to watch, and this series to date slowly continues.

    "Fathers" triples the length of the first narrative; enriched by glossaries and endnotes, the result repeats Vollmann's prodigious labor. This appeared two years after "Ice," and two years before part five (which appeared out of order in the series), returning in "The Rifles" to Lord Franklin's doomed mid-Victorian voyage among the Inuit. These three books burrow into history and contemporary memories along America's northeastern frontiers. They match Vollmann's affection for frozen climates, and varied Canadian cultures and scenes, with his energy and erudition. With so little surviving of indigenous reactions to the contact, and with what we know filtered through the invaders much more than the natives, Vollmann must mix imagination with scholarship.

    This novel builds upon that region's own vast origin myth, the Jesuit Relations, 73 volumes sent back starting in 1611 and continuing for two centuries, from New France to the Society of Jesus' French superiors. But whereas "Ice" hovered between recreating the Norse tone from hefty and resounding saga-lore and skipping into a modern vernacular from Vollmann's late-'80s journeys, "Fathers" opts for an omniscient voice. Although early on we aren't exactly sure where it emanates from ("Jean"? A venerable chair where a wise elder once sat?), this projection sustains a more consistent register. Yet blends a filtered antiquated sensibility, drifting in and through both Indian and European perceptions. Furthermore, Vollmann applies Ignatian Spiritual Exercises into a Stream of Time image adapted from his previous novel's icy dreamtime. Readers embark on a bracing, engaging, if daunting portage.

    Very early in the 17th century, Champlain works his way up to preferment and command for the Roy. "He gathered the trees into orderly clumps as he mapped them, so that the rivers would be less encumbered." (103) Lusting for mineral riches, he explores those rivers to no avail as for gold or silver, but his navigational obsession earns him grudging acceptance by his social or military betters. His band of similarly restive adventurers hammers out habitations and fattens off the beaver-pelt trade in Montréal and Québec, about seven decades after Jacques Cartier had begun to map Canada. So, while we never figure out clearly at the start who's speaking what to whom, by now a pidgin exchange of French or even some Basque mingled with native languages may have become common.

    Contemporaneous with Cartier's exploration, St. Ignatius of Loyola gathered the first companions for what would be known as the Jesuits, the same year of 1534. These Black Gowns or Crows make a neat play off of Black Hands, the dark lord of the native peoples in "Ice"; their coming for the French merchants and scoundrels signals unwelcome change, even if the Iron People trade for furs with a coveted metal for kettles, then arrowheads and weaponry. Poutrincourt, who soon will lose control of his fort to the inexorable priests, lashes out at the first clever missionary sent to block the master's diplomatic path. "Tell me, Père, are all of you Jesuits cunning in this way, to get first a toehold, then a foothold, and then to trample everything down? I ask you: who gave you the right to be here?" (190)

    For the traders, and the priests, this Canadian immensity can prove implacable. Its woods emanate darkness and their depths bewilder. Yet they can cheer. "Autumn fell, and the forest became a chasuble of red velvet with gold flowers down the side, its skinny leaf-arms outstretched in grasping prayer." (203) The observer of this scene is not specified, and in such moments, Vollmann conveys the sheer wonder of the place, filtered a bit through the perception of one raised in the old-new faith.

    To win converts for Christ, this ambition impels the Jesuits, as Vollmann paraphrases them, to declare war on the world. A fifty-page immersion into Ignatius' dramatic decision, when wounded by a blunderbuss, to turn from a life of Spanish swashbuckling to one of soul-searching demonstrates the intensity of the Society's founder. Vollmann sums up Ignatius' military strategy, calculated through his Spiritual Exercises to teach his Companions the memory skills, the calm under pressure, and the intricate spiritual and practical classifications to call upon in their apostolate. It neatly nods to the Jesuit balance of action with contemplation. "Their plan was simple: to save every soul on earth. The means were complex, requiring the tense spontaneity of generals, the extravagance of jesters, the indifference to comfort of ascetics, the compromising of merchants, the intriguing of diplomats, the patience of craftsmen--all of which were so many pretty veils drawn over an iron purpose." (277)

    Iron speaks too to the natives' lust for it, for hunting and for killing. The French dispense weapons to Born Swimming's people soon after their first encounter, so as to weaken rivals. The titular protagonist of the fourth (2001) of the Seven Dreams, piratical Samuel Argall, kidnapper of Pocahontas, makes a cameo as he conquers the Jesuits' Acadian outpost. Such enmity between British and French heightens, as does tension for the Huron or Wendat, who will under Jesuit tutelage find themselves weakened in conflict with their southern foes, the Iroquois confederacy. The bulk of this narrative, starting a third of the way in, retells the Jesuit role in the fate of the Huron in the 1630s.

    Four hundred pages on, Champlain treks into the Huron heartlands upriver. Captives get roasted alive and scalped. Birds keep singing. Brutality on both sides earns Vollmann's calm scrutiny, as does the fearsome vastness of the forests which dwarf native and settler in a continent of foliage, rivers, and ambush. The omniscient teller quietly hints halfway that he's sometimes Jean de Brébeuf, one of the Black Gowns who will in this leafy domain, in the middle of the 1600s, seek and earn martyrdom.

    One who will find this reward, Jean de Brébeuf, begins to shoulder aside Champlain as the central figure, as the Jesuits deflect the Huron from the traders. Vollmann inserts an aside to Robert de Nobili, a Jesuit who in India by going native balanced conversion with toleration of indigenous customs and beliefs. Returning to the Black Gowns, attempting to sway the Huron, we watch their missionary predicament deepen as epidemics decimate the natives, leaving the surviving priests open to charges of witchcraft by the suspicious Huron, egged on by their bitter shaman against the French.

    As at the end of "The Ice-Shirt," vignettes of those taken by the Europeans back to the Old World, here then brought back to New France, depict the complicity of natives caught between resistance and assimilation. "It was the vast crowds that chastened the boy" Amantacha "and fitted him for his purpose: seeing them, he understood that the Wendat could never begin to contest with these folk on equal terms." (503) Filtered through his eyes, we see the inflexible determination of the newcomers. "The Iron People slouched; they threw themselves down in chairs, as if the chairs would never break or be anything but chairs." (504) A separation of maker from creation contends with the native view.

    Reliant on the reluctant interpretative skills of another young man taken to France who, returning to the Huron, renounces his Catholicism, a cold, lonely Jesuit reflects during an icy sojourn among them his own cognitive dissonance from those he despises but must preach to. "The bare trees reached up together like pillars; their branches upcurved together into an arched cathedral ceiling." (561) Among this frigid desolation, mortality increases among those whom he seeks to win over. "They pass their lives in smoke, thought Père Le Jeune sadly, and afterwards they fall into the fire." (562) If they, during the epidemic, die, they will be damned; their lives seem as grim as their smoke-choked tents.

    Recalling for me Brian Moore's 1985 novel through Bruce Beresford's adaptation of "Black Robe", Vollmann, publishing his novel the year after that movie, dramatizes this same Canadian conflict of wills. As Moore's screenplay sums up through the shaman Mestigoit: "There are no gifts given by the French that aren't paid for." Similarly, the sorcerer and (Born Swimming's daughter and later Amantacha's wife, conceived by that Micmac woman's rape by a French trader) Born Underwater, one gifted with "seeing-ahead", glimpse the outcome of the implacable struggle between determined invader and indigenous settler. Pitting shamen against priests, as epidemics weaken the natives beyond the Huron now, the hidden powers called upon by both sides corner Catholic converts, who have gone over to the French. Crows caw, cornfields wither, famine stalks. Those who have turned to Christ among the natives, in the steady judgment of the holdout Born Underwater, seem reduced to the status of children, by Black Gowns bent on baptizing the dying, swooping down upon stiff prey.

    Between 1634 and 1640, as Vollmann relates in his appended chronology, half the Huron died. The remnant, increasingly Christian, sought refuge from disease, famine, and the Iroquois. Those faithful to premonitions and paganism dwindled. "The dream-Captains sought to protest, but the Christians would not listen to them, and so they withdrew from Ossossané with sadness in their eyes, saying than nothing but selfishness and witchcraft held sway there any longer." (822) Vollmann presents both factions with sympathy but detachment, enabling us to witness the Huron struggle for survival.

    Parts around pages seven- or eight-hundred, admittedly, threaten to belabor the point. Vollmann refuses editorial cuts, so even if one may wonder the reason for so much depth, this deep dive into Catholic and native consciousness, four hundred years ago, triumphs from this sustained commitment. Meanwhile, seasons stretch on and dwindle, distant from the human frenzy for control. "The clouds were like lavender puzzle-pieces floating on milk." (808) Vollmann strives for a fresh presentation, and his language floats between 17th-century chronicler and 1989 visitor to Québec and Amerindian sites. He blends research deftly (sometimes by wry footnotes via academia) and his endnotes attest to the immersion by which he created this dense but absorbing book. Its heft, as with all Seven Dreams to date, may dissuade the faint-hearted, but as with many explorers, rogues, natives, and contemporaries in these thick pages, the adventure undertaken will reward the intrepid.