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By Terese Svoboda

Younger Harriet's father sells her as a slave to settle his playing debt with an eccentric Indian—and her tale is simply starting. half Huck Finn, half precise Grit, Harriet's tale of her come upon with the darkish and brutal background of the yankee West is a real unique. whilst she escapes the unusual mound-building obsession of her Pawnee captor, Harriet units off on a trek to discover her father, merely to fulfill with ever-stranger characters and occasions alongside the way in which. She befriends a Jewish prairie peddler, escapes with a chanteuse, is imprisoned in a stockade and rescued by way of a Civil struggle balloonist, and turns into an unintentional shopkeeper and the surrogate mom to an deserted baby, whereas abetting the break out of runaway slaves.

A picaresque within the American vein, Terese Svoboda's new novel is the Bohemian solution to Willa Cather's iconic My Ántonia. Lifting the shadows off a whole period of yank historical past in a single courageous girl's quest to find who she is, Bohemian lady provides complete play to Svoboda's prodigious abilities for locating the darkish and the unusual within the sunny American story—and the wonder and the wish in its darkest moments.

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He is sitting up now, reaching for his turn at the pipe. Some go back to the whites and betray us. You did not betray us. William the Hat looks into his smoke. I am not half. You are half changed by your time with them, says the Indian. We should have stoned you. William pretends to snore, his smoke escaping his nose. After arranging the chips in the fire, the girl stands quickly and then stands too long, waiting for the word Go. The Indian takes her by the arm and feels its strength. My ankles hurt, says the girl.

I will pass through this country the way we used to, coming upon this and that, and then I will see Pa or at least a sister in the furs they surely still trade, and I will walk right up to them without the ado you are always having when you are away and there those bushes of blue will be. I will say that is all I am looking for, not them. The ground keeping up all that blue sky has about as much grass thick on it as the whiskers a young boy could shave. Or so it appears to me. My eyes still water from the thick smoke night after night inside the Indian’s sleeping house—my place was close to the fire, good for the heat, yes, but hard on the eyes.

Both start off close but split in the distance. I don’t try the soldiers’. You don’t night-steal and threaten a girl when the lazy life of a fort is your aim. I choose the old track and stop a few steps on, crane around and pull my skirt forward for a look. There is all this blood on the back. I am not cut or hurt. I find where it flows and wipe it with weed and wipe it again. I mind the blood but what am I to do? No one has shed it but myself. Going along way past the river, a heavy wagon gets involved in the old tracks and though I fear it is one that carries cannonballs the tracks run so deep, I lay my belief in it carrying cream, very heavy cream, and I follow it.

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