10-17-2007 03:25 PM - edited 10-22-2007 01:55 PM
Michael C. White and Soul Catcher
Soul Catcher is the story of Augustus Cain, a man who makes his living as a slave catcher in pre-Civil War Virginia. Cain is a drunkard and an opium addict, a dissolute gambler, a lonely man who has been damaged physically and emotionally by war. He justifies his profession by saying that it is supported by the law and by the philosophy that deems the black man inferior to the white man. Despite this, he hates his work, has more or less fallen into it because of circumstance, and hopes to get out of the slave-catching business and go out to California to start a new life. However, he owes a gambling debt to a plantation owner named Eblerly, whose female slave named Rosetta has run off and whom he desperately wants returned. Eberly also holds the bill of sale to Cain's horse, the only thing Cain holds dear in his life. At first Cain refuses, but Eberly gives Cain an ultimatum: bring back his slave or he will press charges and get him thrown in jail. Reluctantly, Cain agrees and so begins his journey North in search of Rosetta.
With him come two brothers named Strofe, who work for Eberly, and a malicious man named Preacher, whose job, Cain realizes, is to make sure Cain does what he's been paid to do. Cain's long odyssey will have many adventures. However, the escaped slave Rosetta, a beautiful and defiant mullato, proves to be his biggest challenge for she makes him question his own moral code. Part adventure story, part moral tale, part love story, Soul Catcher is a novel about one man's soul.
About Michael C. White: Michael C. White is the author of four previous novels: A Brother's Blood, which was a New York Times Book Review Notable Book and a Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers nominee, as well as nominated for an Edgar; The Blind Side of the Heart, an Alternate Book-of-the-Month Club selection; and A Dream of Wolves, which received starred reviews from Booklist and Publisher's Weekly. The Garden of Martyrs (May 2004) was a finalist for the Connecticut Book Award in 2005, and he also has a collection of short stories, Marked Men. He has also published over 45 short stories in national magazines and journals, and has won the Advocate Newspapers Fiction Award and been nominated for both a National Magazine Award and a Pushcart. He was the founding editor of the yearly fiction anthology American Fiction. Currently he is the editor of Dogwood: A Journal of Poetry and Prose.
He teaches fiction writing workshops and literature courses at Fairfield University, and is on the faculty of Stonecoast, the University of Southern Maine's low-residency MFA program. He lives on a lake in Connecticut with his dog Henry.
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Message Edited by Jessica on 10-22-2007 01:55 PM
10-29-2007 04:09 PM
That is just one of the many things I liked about Soul Catcher - it immerses the reader in that period in our history when the nation was grappling with the morality of slavery and helps you to understand the social and political thinking that was driving public policy - as well as the struggles that were going on in individual souls. I would be interested in knowing what percentage of the time to produce this book was spent on research. It had to be extraordinary.
At the same time, this is a gripping human tale peopled with a wonderful range of characters that keep the story always interesting and moving at a good pace. Need I add that I think this is a really good book?