The White by Deborah Larsen

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In 1758, when Mary Jemison is about sixteen, a Shawnee raiding party captures her Irish family near Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Mary is the only one not killed and scalped. She is instead given to two Seneca sisters to replace their brother who was killed by whites. Emerging slowly from shock, Mary--now named Two-Falling-Voices--begins to make her home in Seneca culture and the wild landscape. She goes on to marry a Delaware, then a Seneca, and, though she contemplates it several times, never rejoins white society. Larsen alludes beautifully to the way Mary apprehends the brutality of both the white colonists and the native tribes; and how, open-eyed and independent, she thrives as a genuine American.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

About Deborah Larsen

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Deborah Larsen grew up in St. Paul, Minnesota, and currently lives with her husband in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Her collection of poetry, Stitching Porcelain, was published in 1991, and her poems and short stories have appeared in The Nation, The Yale Review, The Quarterly, Oxford Magazine, and The New Yorker, among other publications. She has been a Wallace Stegner Fellow at Yale. She teaches creative writing at Gettysburg College, where she holds the Merle S. Boyer Chair.
Published December 18, 2007 by Vintage. 242 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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In brief paragraphs that juxtapose the events of Mary’s life with her (often bitter) observations on her fate, later “reveries,” and remembered snatches of biblical stories and sayings, Larsen marches us through her heroine’s gradual bonding with the Senecas (to whom she’s “given” by her captors)...

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Publishers Weekly

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In her first novel, poet Larsen (Stitching Porcelain) mines historical territory, reinterpreting the life of Mary Jemison, a white woman who was captured in 1758

Jun 03 2002 | Read Full Review of The White

The New York Times

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ALL IN THE FAMILY From left, Todd Cerveris, Lenny Wolpe, Liz Larsen and Ken Forman are in “Renova- tions,” the story of a rocky father-son collaboration in home renovation.

Mar 25 2011 | Read Full Review of The White

Suite 101

Rhoda and Samuel each have problems but together they could be successful..

Dec 05 2010 | Read Full Review of The White

The Millions

Likewise, the structure of the book is a bit flimsy as the three characters within share little but being in the same city during the same period of time, and the strenuous effort put forth by Larsen to connect these three characters tends to detract from the stories themselves, as each character...

Nov 18 2004 | Read Full Review of The White


It's hard to know if the italicized material is Mary's actual voice or a fictionalized version of what she said in A NARRATIVE OF THE LIFE OF MARY JEMISON: THE WHITE WOMAN OF THE GENESEE, by James Everett Seaver, M.D., which was first published in 1823.

Oct 03 2009 | Read Full Review of The White

Story Circle Book Reviews

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Apr 16 2003 | Read Full Review of The White


However, to be a young girl there at the time was a bit scary, especially if you came under the influence of Holmes, who lured many women to his mansion just blocks from the Fair and killed them in any number of ways.

Jun 27 2012 | Read Full Review of The White

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