American Ghosts

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  • Format: Trade Paper
  • Copyright: 2006-01-11
  • Publisher: Beacon Press
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From a critically acclaimed novelist comes a masterful memoir in the tradition of Edmund White's A Boy's Own Story David Plante was born and brought up in a French-speaking Catholic parish in Providence, Rhode Island, that was like an isolated fortress in Yankee New England. The nuns of the parish school wore long black veils and taught the children that they lived in le petit Canada, where they preserved the beliefs of le grand Canada, a country of suffering eased by miracles. This invisible country-with its history of long lost French North America, of the Jesuit missionaries devoted to converting the Indians, of the hard lives of fur traders and woodsmen and the Indian squaws who became their wives-was made more present to him than the visible country he lived in. His part-Blackfoot father was stoic and silent, his mother lively and garrulous but trapped, and at the center of their difficult lives was a deep, dark God. The ghosts of the parish haunted David Plante long after he left home, lost his belief in any god, and found the center of his life both in love and in writing. However free of his past he became in his maturity, his constant fear remained that the God he was brought up with would appear to him and possess him. Finally, Plante came to terms with this possessive God by coming to terms with his ancestry-a stunning spiritual and physical journey that brings him back to Providence, to Canada, to France, and finally to a new understanding of God.

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