How the Night Is Divided by David Matlin
A Novel

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This is a story of the southern California chaparral where it edges into the Mohave Desert, a place of ripping Santa Ana winds and unpredicted earthquakes; it is the story of a people there in the late 1940s and early 1950s, a few Jews among the first farmers, who had cut out a chunk of it and raised roses with a passion equal to the remembrance of their diaspora. They could speak fluent Spanish, Hebrew, Russian; work complicated equipment; and outwardly seem set for the worst trouble. It is also about the Oklahoma raised Kiowa named Tom Green, the farmer’s foreman; his visions, dreams, and the voices that speak through him. But especially it is about the women: the farmer’s wife who bears the blood her Aztec ancestors carried into the earliest California settlements; and Tom Green’s Kiowa grandmothers; and Anna, a beautiful Hollywood actress. Against the ominous shadows of B-52 bomber practice runs, the invisible rain from nearby Nevada atomic bomb tests, the historic destruction of the ancient redwoods, and the banishment of the grizzly bear, How the Night is Divided captures life at the western edge.

About David Matlin

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David Matlin is a novelist, poet, and essayist. His collections of poetry and prose include the books CHINA BEACH, DRESSED IN PROTECTIVE FASHION, and A HALFMAN DREAMER. His first novel, How the Night is Divided, was nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award in 1993. His most recent book, Prisons: Inside the New America from Vernooykill Creek to Abu Ghraib, published by North Atlantic Books, is based on a ten-year experience teaching in one of the oldest Prison Education Programs in the nation in New York State. This extended essay is a discussion of the crisis of prisons, the invention of surplus populations, and how, in making prison our largest growth industry, we are mining our own civil disintegrations at unprecedented levels. David Matlin is an associate professor at San Diego State University and teaches in the MFA Creative Writing Program.
Published May 1, 1993 by McPherson. 201 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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Tom Green, the Kiowa Okie, knows how to irrigate, and so he helps the immigrant Jews, even though ``In the local papers the local people complained about the herd of Jews being kept there.'' Like the Jews, who hire concentration camp survivors and live almost as much in the spirit of their racial...

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