Author. Resting Places and many other works…

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Best Novels about Slavery From Both Sides

What do I mean, “slavery from both sides”?  In America, slavery–that “peculiar institution”–was not only a crime perpetrated against a large group of people over hundreds of years, it was also a crime committed by another group of people.  In a very real way it was–and is–two sides of a single horrific coin.  Both sides, whites and African-Americans, must come to a reckoning…

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Who Gets to Write What

Few would question that we’ve entered an era of unprecedented cultural fragmentation.   People can no longer agree on the most fundamental things: what is good or bad, right or wrong, true or false.  Writers, too, have felt the effects of this trend.  As a professor of English and a novelist, I’ve spent the better part of my life advocating for…

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Living Through Loss

How does a parent survive the death of a child? Losing a child suggests that the world has been turned topsy-turvy, upside-down. Parents are supposed to die before their children. That’s the natural order of things. So how does one survive that most unnatural and unimaginable events? That’s the problem I posed for my main character, Elizabeth, in Resting Places.…

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Mater Dolorosa

Recently, I visited the Clark art museum in Williamstown. I happened upon Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux’s moving sculpture, Mater Dolorosa. Unlike so many works of art about Mary’s grief over the death of her son, this one depicts only the woman’s bust, alone, in terrible anguish. The story about the sculpture was even more moving. In a park, the artist Carpeaux had…

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