Diane Glancy is the author of many novels, essays and books of poetry. She has won the North American Indian Prose Award and the Capricorn Prize for poetry. Part Cherokee, Glancy teaches Native American literature and creative writing at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota.
The confusing passage to adulthood is the heart of Glancy's slender, poignant and powerful story of an innocent, deeply religious teenage girl. The second oldest of nine children, Rachel Hume learned to read by deciphering highway signs as her family followed her father, an itinerant railroad worker, across the bountiful countrysides of Louisiana and Texas. Now nearly grown, Rachel is a committed Christian; her world is still defined by her deep attachment to her mother and God‘until she falls in love with a young soldier. But the shelter of her family's love leaves newly married Rachel little prepared for the demands of her husband, Jim Satterethwait, and life in the army barracks, surrounded by people who drink, commit adultery and neglect their children. Rachel's problems are further complicated when she becomes pregnant and barely survives a difficult childbirth that is succeeded by post-partum depression. Instead of turning to her patient husband, Rachel retreats to her childhood home, where she must finally learn to face the world‘and her own desires‘or lose Jim for good. Winner of the first North American Indian Prose Award and the Capricorn Prize for poetry, Glancy (Pushing the Bear) is a sensitive writer; her expressive prose evocatively captures the intriguing complexity of life in the Bible Belt South. While her strong Christian emphasis may not interest every reader, her quiet story resonates with the lilting currents of the Louisiana bayous and open roads of East Texas. (Dec.)
The author of Pushing the Bear (LJ 7/96), a well-received novel about the Trail of Tears, Cherokee writer Glancy here crafts the coming-of-age story of a Southern girl-woman. Soulful, willful Rachel Hume hails from an itinerant family of siblings and informal adoptees presided over by railway-worker father Wood and steadfast mother Bethanna (the title refers to her). Rachel leaves this familiar, boisterous crowd for a soldier she meets during the family's sojourn in Madill, Texas. Initially resistant, the family accepts Jim after he attends church and has a conversion. Rachel, however, finds herself unready to accept the austerity, profanity, and grit of barracks life. She pines for her mother, nearly dies in childbirth, returns home, and finally works toward some peaceful place for herself in the uneasy life she has chosen. This short, honest, but almost perfunctory novel may appeal to readers of that rich, amorphous category called Southern fiction. An optional purchase.-Janet Ingraham, Worthington P.L., Ohio