This work of historical fiction is also very timely for current day. John Brown was driven to commit violent acts of terrorism by his God and his belief that slavery was wrong. Banks tells the story through John Brown’s son Owen. Late in life Owen is approached by Ms. Mayo, a research assistant for Oswald Garrison Villard, to tell his version of what happened to bring John Brown to be such a lightning rod for change. Brown turned his back on providing for his family, securing his financial future, and living a peaceful life to become passionately involved in the anti-slavery movement. He helped slaves reach freedom in Canada, talked against slavery, involved his family in his crusade, and when all else failed, he turned to violence ultimately giving his life for his beliefs.— Deon Stonehouse
A triumph of the imagination and a masterpiece of modern storytelling, Cloudsplitter is narrated by the enigmatic Owen Brown, last surviving son of America's most famous and still controversial political terrorist and martyr, John Brown. Deeply researched, brilliantly plotted, and peopled with a cast of unforgettable characters both historical and wholly invented, Cloudsplitter is dazzling in its re-creation of the political and social landscape of our history during the years before the Civil War, when slavery was tearing the country apart. But within this broader scope, Russell Banks has given us a riveting, suspenseful, heartbreaking narrative filled with intimate scenes of domestic life, of violence and action in battle, of romance and familial life and death that make the reader feel in astonishing ways what it is like to be alive in that time.
About the Author
Russell Banks, twice a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, is one of America’s most prestigious fiction writers, a past president of the International Parliament of Writers, and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. His work has been translated into twenty languages and has received numerous prizes and awards, including the Common Wealth Award for Literature. He lives in upstate New York and Miami, Florida.