From Louisa May Alcott′s Little Women, Geraldine Brooks takes John March, the absent father and offers us his passionate story of struggle.
Drawing from the journals and letters of Bronson Alcott, Louisa May′s father, Brooks creates a dramatic story set during the time of the American Civil War and focuses on the untold story of the girls′ father, John March. An idealist and abolitionist, March finds himself on the front line staring at a war that will not only test his physical durability and strength but also one which will challenge his faith and even the cause for which he is fighting. Alone in a country ripped apart by violence and hatred he sees things that shake his very soul and realises that even his side is capable of barbarism and racism.
Recovering from a near-fatal illness in a Washington hospital, he must reassemble the shards of his shattered mind and body, and find a way to reconnect with a wife and daughters who have no idea of the ordeals he has been through.
March explores the passions between a man and a woman, the tenderness of parent and child, and the life-changing power of an ardently held belief.
What they said:
′Brooks′s considerable historical research for March is pleasingly lightly worn...make[s] clever use of Little Women without suffocating beneath it.′ Sophie Harrison, Sunday Times
′March is that rare species: a serious popular novel that is not afraid to grapple with big ideas.′ Douglas Kennedy, Waterstones Books Quarterly.
′Researched with great historical thoroughness, March hews faithfully to the spirit of Alcott′s original...Louise May Alcott would be well pleased.′ The Economist
′Both harrowing and moving ... March casts a spell that lasts much longer than the reading of it.′ Karen Joy Fowler, author of The Jane Austen Book Club
In what ways is March a frustrating yet sympathetic character? How are his pacifist ideas challenged and how does he cope?
How does Marmee′s account of the past year differ from March′s one and who pays the real price for March′s morals?
How is the Clement estate affected by the war? What allegories might one draw from this, if any?
March′s relationships with both Marmee and Grace are pivotal in his life. Discuss the differences between these two relationships and how they help to shape March, his view of women and politics, and his future.
Have you read Little Women? Do you feel that March complemented the tale? Would you have preferred more or less of March′s daughters to feature in March?
If you like March you might also like:
Little Women by Louise May Alcott.
The Known World by Edward P Jones
The Red Badge of Courage by Steven Crane
Walden by Henry David Thoreau
The History of Love by Nicole Krauss
About the Author:
Geraldine Brooks was born and raised in Australia. After moving to the USA she worked for eleven years on the Wall Street Journal, covering stories from some of the world′s most troubled areas, including Bosnia, Somalia and the Middle East. Her first novel, Year of Wonders, was set during the English plague year of 1666, and became an international bestseller. She lives with her husband and son in rural Virginia and is currently a fellow at Harvard University.
Other books by Geraldine Brooks:
Year of Wonders
About Geraldine Brooks