NPR stories about Caleb's Crossing
I am astonished and chagrined that I had not read any of Geraldine Brooks' novels until Caleb's Crossing. She takes a known historical figure — Caleb Cheeshahteaumuck, the first Native American to attend Harvard University — and from that single thread weaves a spellbinding tapestry depicting the world of the Puritans and the Wopanaak in 17th century Massachusetts. It is a tragic clash of cultures and gods, narrated by Bethia Mayfield, a minister's daughter who befriends Caleb.
In Caleb's Crossing, Geraldine Brooks has created a lovely heroine in Bethia Mayfield, a young girl living on Martha's Vineyard in colonial times. Bethia longs to break free of the restrictions of her strict Puritan community. Smarter than her older brother, who is destined to get the education she wants and deserves, Bethia finds comfort in exploring the wilds of the island with a young Native American named Caleb. It is a secret friendship and remains so, even as the two end up in