by Anne Marie Macari

ISBN: 9781882295500

Publisher Alice James Books

Published in Literature & Fiction/Poetry

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Book Description

Born on Emancipation Day, 1863, to a sharecropping family of African and Indian blood, Elijah Yancy never lived as a slave, but his self-image as a free person is at war with his surroundings: Spartanburg, South Carolina, in the Reconstructed South. Exiled for his own survival as a teenager, Elijah walks west to the Nebraska plains and, like other rootless young African-American men of that era, joins the U.S. Cavalry. The trajectory of Elijah's army career parallels the nation's imperial adventures in the late nineteenth century: subduing Native Americans in the West and quelling rebellion in the Philippines.

Haunted by the terrors endured by black Americans and by his part in persecuting other people of color, Elijah is sustained only by visions, memories, prayers, and his questing spirit - which ultimately finds a home when his troop is posted to guard the newly created Yosemite National Park in 1903. Here, living with little beyond mountain light, cold rivers, campfires, and stars, he becomes a man who owns himself completely, while knowing he's left pieces of himself scattered along his life's path like pebbles on a creekbed. Elijah's narrative voice - poetic, rhythmically cadenced, ranging freely through time - makes this novel a literary meditation on finding a self and a spiritual home, while unveiling a little-known chapter of America's past.


Sample Chapter

Book One

Light was being, held by her own hands or
touched like water burning bare skin.
In the beginning meant learning to see: a thousand
kinds of green, the vine-crawl along rocks,
the groping mouths of flowers. In the beginning
all they knew was yes, so when the first no
settled quietly around the tree
they thought it birdsong, it took days or weeks
for them to even notice its echo
in the leaves, an absence really, the start of loss.
Later, when the suffering began, who could
she turn to and say: I didn’t ask to be born,
squatting, the light separate and cold, distant
as God, and she, already, refusing to kneel.

Excerpted from "Gloryland" by Anne Marie Macari. Copyright © 0 by Anne Marie Macari. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Excerpts are provided solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
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