Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Preview – Across The Endless River by Thad Carhart

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Book Specs from Amazon:

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday; 1 edition (September 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385529775
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385529778

    Book Info by the Publicist:

    Across the Endless River a historical novel about Jean-Baptiste Charbonneau, the son of Sacagawea, and his intriguing sojourn as a young man in 1820s Paris.

    Born in 1805 on the Lewis and Clark expedition, Jean-Baptiste Charbonneau, known affectionately as “Pompy” to his mother’s tribe, was the son of the expedition’s translators, Sacagawea and Toussaint Charbonneau. Carried on a cradle board as an infant, Baptiste crossed the Rocky Mountains on Sacagawea’s back, a now legendary image.

    Across the Endless River imagines this mixed-blood child’s mysterious and unique boyhood in Missouri among the Mandan tribe and his time as William Clark’s ward in St. Louis. With unparalleled language skills and his ability to slip between and co-exist within two very different worlds, Baptiste proves indispensable to the explorers and scientists he meets through Clark. 

    Baptiste, caught between worlds, reflects the common struggle of those who find themselves at an intersection of multiple cultures, languages, and ways of life.  Spanning the wilds of America to the European court, Across the Endless River is a haunting exploration of identity, passion, and love. 

  • Links here for Wikipedia information on Sacagawea , Baptiste, and Charbonneau.

    thadCarhart

    Author Bio:
    Thad Carhart, author of Across the Endless River, is a dual citizen of of the United States and Ireland. He lives in Paris with his wife, the photographer Simo Neri, and their two children.

  • An article written by the author on the changes which inevitably occur in a location – specifically Paris here - as time progresses.

    Imagining the Past in Paris
    By Thad Carhart,
    Author of Across the Endless RiverTo walk in Paris is to walk through multiple layers of the past, more than 900 years of built history that awaits any stroller. Having lived here for twenty years, I've seen the city change with new roads and bridges, new museums, new rows of apartments. And yet the deep respect that Parisians have developed for what they call their patrimoine, their inheritance, ensures that old buildings are regularly restored and preserved, integrated into the flux of daily life. The look of the city changes subtly, as it has throughout history.

    The biggest transformation in modern times was simply the cleaning of the stone edifices of central Paris, initiated in the 1960's by de Gaulle's Minister of Culture, André Malraux. No change could have been more surprising, or more deeply satisfying. When I was a very young boy living in Paris, I was convinced that all of the buildings were made from the same stone, black as night and so softened by centuries of wood and coal dust that the surface was a felt-like matte whose edges looked as if they would soon crumble. This was the "atmospheric" Paris of all those voluptuous black-and-white photos (what blacks and grays there were on every side), the ponderous Paris of Buffet prints and countless tourist posters.

    Then the government started to clean the major monuments one by one -- Notre-Dame, the Arc de Triomphe, the Louvre -- and the transformation was shocking, almost troubling in its strange newness. The buildings of Paris weren't black after all, but very nearly . . . white! It took almost two decades of careful cleaning and restoration, but Paris emerged from the process the albino twin of its former self. To appreciate the contrast, buy a vintage postcard aerial view, dating from 1970 or earlier, at one of the bouquiniste stalls along the banks of the Seine, then compare it with the present-day aerial shot: the era of dirt and grime looks like a photographic negative of the light and airy Paris that current tourists will recognize as the "real" Paris.

    Walking, however, reveals just one facet of the landscape. Recently, in researching a historical novel, I needed to imagine Paris as it would have appeared in the 1820s. The first stop for any such endeavor is the splendid Musée Carnavalet, the Museum of the City of Paris, whose collection documents in elaborate and fascinating detail every step of the city's past. As I consulted paintings, prints, and manuscripts, many of the differences were obvious: in 1825 the Champs-Elysées was already a broad, fashionable avenue, but the Arc de Triomphe did not yet grace its rise; the Eiffel Tower wouldn't appear until 1889; and, of course, Beaubourg, the Pyramid of the Louvre, and the Grande Arche, all sturdy Paris fixtures today, would only appear within the last four decades.

    Another clear difference was the absence of cars, though factoring them out mentally also involved imagining the presence of horses . . . lots of horses. As I examined the numberless paintings at Carnavalet, I thought a lot about the look, the sound, and the smell of tens of thousands of horses plying the streets of Paris close to 200 years ago. Merely disposing of their manure -- and Paris was very well organized in this department -- was a Herculean task daily. And, just as in our day, when playboys often drive Porsches and tradesmen more likely use vans, the paintings reveal fancy thoroughbreds ridden solo by dandies, sturdy draft horses pulling huge wagons, and bony nags hitched to battered carts.

    Perhaps the biggest surprise that comes with seeking the past in the Paris landscape, especially after examining the documentary record, it to realize how little the scale of buildings has changed over the centuries. With two exceptions on the Left Bank (the Tour Montparnasse and the university's Tour Jussieu), no high-rises spoil the illusion in the center of Paris that the modern age has yet arrived. Individual facades, a modern infrastructure, and hordes of cars all tell a different story, but the look and feel of many quartiers -- the Marais and the Latin Quarter are simply the best known examples -- would feel appropriate to a Parisian of the early nineteenth century. This tenuous, heady relationship to the past is often seductive, and yet it can also feel weighty, old-fashioned, and artificial. How long it can prevail in the face of change is anybody's guess.     ©2009 Thad Carhart, author of Across the Endless River

    Author’s website which has the first chapter available to read online, additional information about the author, as well as notes and pictures of artifacts regarding some of the cultural and historical research he has done surrounding this novel.

  • Amazon purchasing links are listed respectively by country – US/UK/Canada

    Book received from Anna Suknov at FSB Associates. Thank you Anna.

    Review coming soon!

  • 10 comments:

    TheChicGeek said...

    Okay, this book is MINE! Totally rockin review! Awesome! This sounds wonderful and I can't wait to read it! Thanks for the great review, Shellie! This one is so right up my alley...LOL
    Aww, I sound like a silly surfer girl...but seriously, great review! I can't wait to read this one!

    Sending Hugs to you, Shellie :D Your blog is looking FABULOUS!
    XOX
    Kelly

    Shellie (Layers of Thought) said...

    Kelly aka Chic Geek -
    This is just a preview with all the publisher's blurbs and stuff.
    I will be reading it in a few weeks and will let you know what I think.

    And about the surfer girl thing - we California girls need to stick together ;)

    lilly said...

    I have this book for a review as well and I am actually very curious to see if I like it.

    Shellie (Layers of Thought) said...

    Lilly -
    You know I am too. The cover and the title are gorgeous and I like the premise and have always been curious about Sacagawea but historical fiction can be wonderful or just plain boring at times.
    Well have to compare notes.
    I have been meaning to include reviews from other bloggers in my post but have not gotten around to it.
    Thanks for the comment. :)

    TheChicGeek said...

    LOL, Shellie...yes, we do! :D
    I like the publisher's review. It sounds so good! It's neat how you give us a little teaser with the publisher and author info before your review! I like that! I'll be looking forward to hearing what you think!

    Have a Happy Day, Shellie!

    Shellie (Layers of Thought) said...

    Kelly/Chic Geek -
    I was thinking that perhaps the labeling for my "previews" and "reviews" is just too similar and confusing. What do you think?
    Thanks for your input!

    TheChicGeek said...

    Hi Shellie :D Your label is perfect, my mind is not...LOL

    You did such a nice job that it felt like a review to me. I don't think many do the preview so I just started reading thinking it was a review without reading the title closely. I think it's really neat though...a great teaser to the review! I love it!

    Also when you do it like this I'm thinking people will get the book and read it along with you and it may give more meaningful discussion of the book in your comments...more like a book club. I think it's fantastic!
    Hugs :D

    Shellie (Layers of Thought) said...

    Kelly -
    Thanks a bunch! I want to be accessible and clear.

    DCMetroreader said...

    I am reviewing this book too. I look forward to your review.

    Shellie (Layers of Thought) said...

    DC -
    I look forward to your thoughts too. It will be interesting to compare them.
    Thanks for your comments. :)

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