Douglas Glover's acclaimed novel The Life and Times of Captain N. is now available in a GLE Library edition. Originally published by McClelland & Stewart, the novel was acclaimed by the most respected critics in Canada and the US, and compelled The Toronto Star's Philip Marchand to call Glover "one of the most important Canadian writers of his generation." Set on the Niagara frontier in the final days of the American Revolution, The Life and Times of Captain N. sees the revolutionary new world order from the standpoint of the losers. Hendrick Nellis, a Tory guerrilla, has also been a redeemer of whites abducted by Indians. His son Oskar finds himself sometimes allied with the Indians, sometimes at war with them. Hendrick kidnaps Oskar for King George's army, and Oskar, haunted by dreams and by books, is the teller of the tale. The book he intends to write is sketched out in his letters to George Washington and in the signs tattooed on his skin as mementos of his personal Indian wars. The Life and Times of Captain N. trespasses into the no-man's-land where the delirium of combat drives races, genders, languages, and ideas into a primeval frenzy. Master of the psyche's primitive depths, Douglas Glover draws the reader into a violent and erotic emotional whirlpool. Some of the incidents in The Life and Times of Captain N. are based on the lives of the real Hendrick Nellis and his family, and, says Glover, "I have no doubt their descendents and relatives on both sides of the border will find much to complain of."
In this historical novel set in the Mohawk Valley of New York State during the Revolutionary War, Native Americans side with the British against the rebel colonists in skirmishes that ebb and flow across the rugged countryside. Glover ( The South Will Rise at Noon ) attempts to tell the story of Capt. Hendrick Ellis, a Tory, and his recalcitrant son Oskar, who takes a blood oath against his father for fighting on the wrong side. Oskar, who is eventually kidnapped and pressed into service for King George, maintains a precocious correspondence with ``Gen'l Washington'' and fancies himself a writer. Though this may sound like an adventure tale out of Fenimore Cooper, Glover's rash of postmodernist technique yields something closer to the violent pastiches of William Burroughs. Texts from ``Oskar's book on Indians'' mix with the dreams and observations of two mysterious white women (one of whom lives with Indians) to produce a disorienting and shattered world. Glover has certainly written a book true to his take on the era--``The war is like a whirlwind . . .''; but anachronisms and academy-addled prose (``I could see the worry in their faces, as if the grammar of their resolve and the structure of the world they were about to meet in battle were different'') betray an inadequate control of the material. ( Feb. )