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Linda Spalding: A Reckoning
Book launch celebration of Linda Spalding’s sweeping historical epic of slavery, emancipation, and the American west
About A Reckoning: A richly evocative and important novel about what happens to a Virginia family that must come to terms with their slave-owning past as the Civil War approaches and an abolitionist visits their plantation, throwing it into turmoil and eventually sending the family West.
It is 1855. The thousand-acre Dickinson farm on the Virginia-Kentucky border is run by two brothers–Benjamin, who owns the land, and John, a circuit-riding Methodist preacher, who manages the land and the sale of cotton and brandy.
When a naturalist arrives asking questions about birds and plants, he’s invited to stay–but his real mission is to distribute maps, compasses, and knives to the slaves, who then begin to escape, causing chaos on the farm and bitterness between the brothers.
We follow one half of the family as they head for the Kansas Territory and we follow one of the runaway slaves as he travels to freedom in Canada. Both journeys are full of electrifying incident, near escapes, and the astonishing beauty of undefiled America.
Throughout, the characters contend with eternal vicissitudes and the pleasures of family and friends, and sometimes loneliness, but they must all finally come to a reckoning with America’s original sin: slavery.
Linda Spalding was born in Kansas and lived in Mexico and Hawaii before immigrating to Canada in 1982. She is the author of four critically acclaimed novels, The Purchase, Daughters of Captain Cook, The Paper Wife, and (with her daughter Esta) Mere. In 2003 Spalding received the Harbourfront Festival Prize for her contribution to the Canadian literary community.
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Mar 23, 2021