Canaan's Tongue by John Wray
(Vintage)

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Synopsis

Set in the American South in the years before and during the Civil War, John Wray’s hypnotic new novel is at once a crime story, a bravura work of historical fiction, and a fire-and-brimstone meditation on American credulity and corruption.
Thaddeus Morelle’s followers call him “the Redeemer.” Over the years he has led the Island 37 Gang from stealing horses to stealing slaves in an enterprise so nefarious that both the Union and Confederacy have placed a bounty on their heads. But now Morelle is dead, murdered by his puppet and prot?g?, Virgil Ball, who may rid himself of the Redeemer but can never be free of his Trade. Based on the true story of John Murrell, a figure once as infamous as Jesse James, Canaan’s Tongue is suspenseful and fiercely comic, a modern masterpiece of the American grotesque.


From the Trade Paperback edition.
 

About John Wray

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John Wray was born in Washington, D.C., and has since lived in Texas, Alaska, Chile, and New York. His first novel, The Right Hand of Sleep, was a New York Times Notable Book and a Los Angeles Times Best Book of the Year. Wray is the recipient of a Whiting Writers’ Award. He currently lives in Brooklyn, New York.From the Trade Paperback edition.
 
Published December 18, 2007 by Vintage. 354 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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Their story is an increasingly horrific one, of ironic accommodation to the momentum of history (since “Abolitionizing” threatens their “Trade,” they yearn for war), internecine struggles and accumulating betrayals, the kidnapping and detention of the forthright whore (Clementine Gilchrist) with ...

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The New York Times

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John Wray's novel is based on a real outlaw and his involvement in the slave trade.

Jul 10 2005 | Read Full Review of Canaan's Tongue (Vintage)

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