- 125,00 kr
“[Norman Lock’s fiction] shimmers with glorious language, fluid rhythms, and complex insights.” —NPR
When U.S. Army chaplain Robert Winter first meets Emily Dickinson, he is fascinated by the brilliance of the strange girl immersed in her botany lessons. She will become his confidante, obsession, and muse over the years as he writes to her of his friendship with the aspiring politician Abraham Lincoln, his encounter with the young newspaperman Samuel Clemens, and his crisis of conscience concerning the radical abolitionist John Brown. Bearing the standard of God and country through the Mexican War and the Mormon Rebellion, Robert seeks to lessen his loneliness while his faith is eroded by the violence he observes and ultimately commits. Emily, however, remains as elusive as her verse on his rare visits to Amherst and denies him solace, a rejection that will culminate in a startling epiphany at the very heart of his despair.
Powerfully evocative of Emily Dickinson’s life, times, and artistry, this fifth stand-alone book in The American Novels series captures a nation riven by conflicts that continue to this day.
Norman Lock is the award-winning author of novels, short fiction, and poetry, as well as stage and radio plays. He lives in Aberdeen, New Jersey, where he is at work on the next books of The American Novels series.
In the fifth installment of his American Novels series, Lock (A Fugitive in Walden Woods) imagines the relationship between a fictional U.S. Army chaplain and Emily Dickinson. Chaplain Robert Winter, by his own admission, was rarely alone with Emily. He met her as she was sitting outside and studying botany in Amherst, Mass., and was immediately struck by the young woman's wit, insight, and intelligence. Though Robert's feelings quickly turn romantic, Emily rejects his advances and continues her life of isolation and poetry. Robert, meanwhile, goes on to serve as a chaplain in the Mexican War and the Mormon Rebellion, his faith crumbling as he witnesses unthinkable atrocities. After the war he marries and has a child, then briefly befriends Abraham Lincoln. But no matter how far he travels, his mind is never far from Amherst and Emily. Lock's prose is ethereal but never overwrought (of war, he writes: "gray earth, gray skies, gray bread, gray smoke, gray snow, a hacking cough, musket fire, a fearsome noise like a twig's snapping, which might have been caused by a bushwhacker or a femur shattered by a minie ball"). The lively passages of Emily's letters are so evocative of her poetry that it becomes easy to see why Robert finds her so captivating. The book also expands and deepens themes of moral hypocrisy around racism and slavery from the previous novel. Lyrically written but unafraid of the ugliness of the time, Lock's thought-provoking series continues to impress.