Reminiscent of a Novelist, a Real Family of Actors, and a Celebrity


There was little time left for the tragedy to begin. After all, childhood in the 19th century was never without the shadow of death, and the Booths were not spared: “Sixteen years have passed. The family grows, shrinks, grows. In 1838, children are counted at nine, including four who were about to arrive and died. It will eventually be 10.”

There are somewhat mundane depictions of farm life – chores, carrying babies – punctuated by bursts of brilliant writing that briefly elevate this novel above its predictable rhythms. Here, for example, is a look at ordinary slaughter: “Farmers had rushed out to guard their fields and fill their cellars. They just fired their rifles into the air. There was no need to get engaged. There was no way to escape. The bird mass curled up into the air and rose like a giant snake when the shooting started.”

“The Cabin” offers a quick but boring recap of life from its back half, just before and throughout the Civil War. One chapter simply reads: “In January 1865, the 13th Amendment came into effect, abolishing slavery in the United States forever.” This is followed by a passage that begins in February: “In February, as Edwin struggles with fatigue in the middle of his historic run, June organizes her schedule to spend a day with John in Washington, D.C. Rosalie, Edwin, and June spent one-on-one. About John à- tête-à-tête.”

We also mention a Confederate arson plot in New York City. “They learned there was only one. As a plot, it was better in theory than in practice. All 19 fires were easily put out.” These national events endure family events – the Booth children grow up, get married, betray their spouses, escape their responsibilities and return to their real home, the stage.

Meanwhile, Johnny, who started as the family’s caressed and loved little boy, turns into a clumsy, mischievous and violent young man. At school, she gets involved with a group of Southern boys and finds herself aligned with their preservation of the institution of slavery. Johnny grew up on the farm with a Black family; He played with his children and saw the pain when children were sold or family members were beaten and raped. “The Stand” is, in a sense, a history of Johnny’s transformation. This is also an indictment of the idea. decent whites. I sympathize with the idea, but found it to be a rather boring premise for a novel.



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