". . . But the past does not exist independently from the present. Indeed, the past is only past because there is a present, just as I can point to something over there only because I am here. But nothing is inherently over there or here. In that sense, the past has no content. The past -- or more accurately, pastness -- is a position. Thus, in no way can we identify the past as past." p. 15

". . . But we may want to keep in mind that deeds and words are not as distinguishable as often we presume. History does not belong only to its narrators, professional or amateur. While some of us debate what history is or was, others take it into their own hands." p. 153

Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History (1995) by Michel-Rolph Trouillot

Friday, July 12, 2013

The Yonahlossee Riding Camp For Girls

The Yonahlossee Riding Camp For Girls by Anton Disclavani (2013); Riverhead / Penguin is a discovery of the sort I seldom make these days: an immersive novel, written with assured literary skills, vision that knows when to pull into the foreground and expand out into landscape and horizon, an ear tuned to the subtleties of expression, of time and place.  Her sense of pacing is almost exquisite -- something learned from growing up as a rider, one wonders?

There seem to be two different jackets.  Perhaps the publisher felt the first cover was too girly?  But it broadcasts the era much better than the second one, which is the jacket on the copy I've got.  The first one is more appealing, with color and light.  This one is depressing.

However, the content of the novel is splendid, at least for this reader.  It's an historical novel (the Great Depression), set somewhere other than the usual favorite fictional locations, particularly for that era  (Florida and North Carolina) filled with a variety of girls and a narrator who must discover a larger world than family and horses, and filled also, then, with horses. Best of all, the voices of the characters are distinctly separate, despite the first person pov.

Our world has gone through so many changes since 1930: the Depression which resulted in FDR's New Deal and a federal social-financial safety network, bank and corporate regulations, World War II, the Civil Rights, Human Rights and Voting Rights acts, women owning their own businesses, holding local, state and federal offices, having all the necessary reproductive rights to which women are entitled everywhere.  None of this has taken place yet, in 1930. And currently? we're living in a time of perpetual war, in which all these progressive human rights achievements are under relentless attack, to be taken away.  Indeed, in many places -- particularly Florida and North Carolina -- these rights have already by-and-large disappeared, at least for those without any means to make up for what used to be rights, supported by the state(s) in which we live.

Full circle.  You cannot help but consider such matters, even while enjoyably submerged in a novel this well composed.


T. Clear said...

Thanks for the recommend! I just reserved this at my library.

Foxessa said...

I missed my stop coming home from the library on Friday, because I was reading it.

I'd love to know what you think when you've finished it!

Love, C.