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House of Purple Cedar

by Tim Tingle

Published by Cinco Puntos Press, 2014 (c2013)
336 pages
ISBN: pbk. 978𢴗35955245

Age 14 and older

In 1967, Rose is an old woman looking back on her childhood in Skullyville, Oklahoma, in 1897, in a novel that moves back and forth between Rose, her family and Choctaw community, and residents of the nearby town of Spiro. Among them is the marshall, a man who is despised by Choctaw and whites alike. His cruelty is often random, as when he strikes Amafo, Rose抯 grandfather, at the train station one day. Amafo turns the other cheek, and in doing so finds allies among some of the whites in Spiro while leading his community away from confrontation. Tim Tingle writes beautifully and deeply about love and forgiveness as antidotes to violence and hatred in a novel that also doesn抰 ignore hard realities. Sometimes bringing the truth into the light isn抰 enough; sometimes you have to fight back with violence. This is illuminated not only through what happens to Rose and her community but also through the lives of several women in Spiro, one of them the marshall抯 wife, who has endured his beatings for years. The power of family, of community and connection, and of love and compassion to transcend divides among individuals, across cultures, between the living and the dead is profound and hopeful in a story that is, above all, about the human heart. The tense plot unfolds through characters drawn with astonishing depth and subtlety, their actions and interactions richly revealing. Solace for Rose抯 community is also found in both Christianity and in spiritual experiences imbedded in their culture, the two seamlessly reconciled in their lives.  © Cooperative Children's Book Center


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