Friday, May 11, 2012

New Found Land, Allan Wolf

After my eleventh winter
I was kidnapped by our enemies
and made to be their slave. 

This was a really interesting idea for a novel: it documents the famous journey of Lewis and Clarke through both verse and prose. Starting with Sacagawea, the various people on the voyage take turns narrating the story for a page or two. They include Lewis, Clark, a talkative kid, a slave, a drunkard, and a French Indian fiddler with one eye. There is also a Newfoundland dog named Oolum with a haunting narrative who was bought by Lewis for twenty dollars. I thought it was interesting that Wolf chose to include a dog's narration as well. Oolum is very observant, and seems to have visions, as do some of the other characters.

One striking thing that really made me angry was the treatment of the Native Americans they meet along the way by Lewis and Clarke. On one line, Lewis will be talking about how similar to white people they are, maybe even better, but he still calls them noble "savages." And also, the way that animals were treated along the voyage. Of course, Lewis and Clark thought that there were endless buffalo, beaver, and other animals to kill, and they do so, but we know now that they are not endless and neither are the trees.

New Found Land was a fairly suspenseful book and I learned something about the history of the Lewis and Clarke voyage. I think this is a great way to learn about history: through historical fiction.

Read New Found Land:
  • if you like novels in verse
  • if you like historical novels
  • if you are interested in Lewis and Clark's journey
478 pages.

Very Good! I would recommend this book!

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