I've been more and more interested in Native American spritual beliefs & traditions as I've read more and more of Vine Deloria's Spirit & Reason
(a book I read intermittently—I've been reading it for years and have never finished). I don't like to be essentialist, or to act as though an entire continent full of people all held the same beliefs until the white man came and destroyed their unanimous culture or anything like that. But there are currents running through many Native American cultures, and I've been finding something there that I connect with.
Anyway, back to this book. Yes, it was really good overall. But like all epics, it got a bit long-winded and/or dry in parts. The descriptions of garden after garden after garden as they made the trek from New England to Bath to Italy, especially—I wasn't sure I was going to make it through all that. I happened to stop in the middle of that section to read a couple of other books for an online discussion, and then I had a really difficult time getting back into this book. I'm glad I stuck it out, though, because it did get very interesting again.
As a side note, this is the book that got me back into fiction. For about a year and a half before starting this, I was finding that I couldn't finish any work of fiction. I tried funny books (A Confederacy of Dunces
), short books (House Made of Dawn
), even short stories (Eudora Welty, and others), but I couldn't finish any of it. It was all non-fiction, all the time. Then my wife suggested this book; I have no idea why, I mean it's so long. But she was right, and it got me back into fiction. So, props for that.