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Summary and book reviews of March by Geraldine Brooks

March
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  • First Published:
    Mar 2005, 288 pages
    Paperback:
    Jan 2006, 288 pages

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Book Summary

An extraordinary novel woven out of the lore of American history—by the author of the international bestseller Year of Wonders. Winner of the 2006 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.

From Louisa May Alcott’s beloved classic Little Women, Geraldine Brooks has animated the character of the absent father, March, and crafted a story "filled with the ache of love and marriage and with the power of war upon the mind and heart of one unforgettable man" (Sue Monk Kidd). With"pitch-perfect writing" (USA Today), Brooks follows March as he leaves behind his family to aid the Union cause in the Civil War. His experiences will utterly change his marriage and challenge his most ardently held beliefs. A lushly written, wholly original tale steeped in the details of another time, March secures Geraldine Brooks’s place as a renowned author of historical fiction. Winner of the 2006 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.

Chapter One
Virginia Is a Hard Road

October 21, 1861

This is what I write to her: The clouds tonight embossed the sky. A dipping sun gilded and brazed each raveling edge as if the firmament were threaded through with precious filaments. I pause there to mop my aching eye, which will not stop tearing. The line I have set down is, perhaps, on the florid side of fine, but no matter: she is a gentle critic. My hand, which I note is flecked with traces of dried phlegm, has the tremor of exhaustion. Forgive my unlovely script, for an army on the march provides no tranquil place for reflection and correspondence. (I hope my dear young author is finding time amid all her many good works to make some use of my little den, and that her friendly rats will not grudge a short absence from her accustomed aerie.) And yet to sit here under the shelter of a great tree as the men make their cook fires and banter together provides a measure of peace. I write on the lap desk that you and the ...

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INTRODUCTION

With her critically acclaimed and bestselling novel Year of Wonders, Geraldine Brooks was praised for her passionate rendering and careful research in vividly imagining the effects of the bubonic plague on a small English village in the seventeenth century. Now, Brooks turns her talents to exploring the devastation and moral complexities of the Civil War through her brilliantly imagined tale of Mr. March, the absent father from Louisa May Alcott's Little Women. In Mr. March, Brooks has created a conflicted and deeply sensitive man, a father who is struggling to reconcile duty to his fellow man with duty to his family against the backdrop of one of the most grim periods in American history.

October 21, 1861. March, an ...
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  • award image

    Pulitzer Prize for Letters, Drama and Music
    2006

Reviews

Media Reviews

Chicago Tribune

A very great book. [I]t breathes new life into the historical fiction genre... I give it a hero's welcome.

Kirkus Reviews

The battle scenes are riveting, the human drama flat.

Publisher's Weekly

Starred Review. Brooks's affecting, beautifully written novel drives home the intimate horrors and ironies of the Civil War.

The Washington Post

March is an altogether successful book, casting a spell that lasts much longer than the reading of it.

Bookmarks Magazine

March offers a provoking, intimate portrait of life during wartime and the difficult questions we face about loyalty, morality, and love.

Los Angeles Times

A beautifully wrought story about how war dashes ideals, unhinges moral certainties and drives a wedge... between [spouses].

Reader Reviews

Cloggie Downunder

an outstanding read
March is the second novel by Australian author, Geraldine Brooks. It tells the story of Mr March, the absent father in Louisa May Alcott’s classic novel, Little Women. But as well as giving the reader an idea of his experience “at the war” (the noise...   Read More

Joan Clay Teague

March or Bronson Alcott
In many ways I consider this an excellent novel. I believe it grows less effective in Part 2 which is told from Marmee's point of view. I question whether the sex scenes with Grace were necessary or were added to enhance sales. Many will read this as...   Read More

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