Here’s a little secret: I have a thing about reading narratives about the Donner Party. Yep. It’s creepy, but it’s also true and you can’t beat them for pure American creepy real life drama (with a mildly happy ending).
Given my penchant for this topic (I love History Channel /PBS documentaries on this subject, too), you can imagine my glee at receiving a copy of Daniel James Brown’s new book, The Indifferent Stars Above. The William Morrow imprint of Harper Collins sent me an uncorrected proof of this new book to review via Library Thing. I am VERY grateful. It’s all I can do not to dive into it immediately, but I’m in the middle of T.C. Boyle’s, The Women, and loving it so I must finish it before I throw myself in with the Donners.
Ethan Rarick’s 2008 book , Desperate Passage: The Donner Party’s Perilous Journey West, has been on my TBR list for a while but I haven’t been able to find a copy to read– even my library doesn’t have it. Back in the late 1990’s Doris Betts did a fabulous job combining paranormal aspects of the Donner story with modern day quest for identity in her novel, Heading West. I should re-read Betts’ book. She’s a fabulous writer and I’ve lost track of her. But, that’s a digression.
Donner books, like books on Salem & witchcraft are best savored months (or years) apart. Too much of a topic like that and I can’t enjoy each book distinctly. I begin to compare the books in ways that don’t allow the writer’s a fair chance to show me what they know and to shed new light on the story. I want to ask new questions and hear new perspectives when I read about this part of our nation’s history so I need to spread these fictionalized accounts out amongst other reading. At least with this new entry into thge category I know I have something I can look forward to reading.