Hesperus Press, £8.99
The Great Meadow, By Elizabeth Madox Roberts
Boyd Tonkin is Literary Editor at The Independent. An award-winning journalist, he was formerly Social Policy Editor of the New Statesman and has broadcast extensively for BBC arts and current affairs programmes. He has judged the Booker Prize, the Whitbread biography award, the Commonwealth Writers Prize and the David Cohen Prize for a lifetime's achievement in literature.
Saturday 17 November 2012
From Willa Cather to Jane Smiley, women's fiction of the pioneer era has offered a bracing alternative to cowboy-centred stories of the settlement of the American West.
This rediscovered novel of 1930 graces its genre with a gripping, evocative story of the homesteaders who left Virginia for Kentucky in the 1770s.
Beyond lyrical accounts of landscape and labour, and an affecting portrait of heroine Diony's "wilderness marriage", Roberts explores the distrust, terror and bloodshed that the paleface push into the domain of the "redmen" brings.
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