American Elegy

American Elegy : A Family Memoir

3.16 (6 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

The author is the last of his line - the final descendant of pioneers who braved brutal death to settle a dark and bloody frontier; who worked and endured, knew triumph and defeat, struggled to win security and status in a Western Pennsylvania town whose name reflected their high hopes and noble ideals: Parnassus. From their records and testimonies, from his own memories and meditations, Jeffrey Simpson weaves their lives, their loves, their strivings, and their fates into a vivid tapestry that allows us to see and feel them and their world as it was.With telling detail and near-magical powers of evocation, the author makes an ankle bracelet belonging to an elderly cousin the starting point of a tale of rebellious passion, social prejudice, and lifelong regret. A pair of broken spectacles takes us on a journey to a farmhouse built on the remains of a pioneer cabin. An eighteenth-century schoolbook tells of the labors of men and women risking all to transform a wilderness into the land of their hopes and dreams. We witness the rise and fall of a town that seemed to its inhabitants as eternal as their righteous moral code and values yet proved as mortal as those who built it. We observe the solving of family mysteries and the careful closeting of family secrets behind layers of propriety. We watch pride and beauty and ambition flower and fade, as the author's handsome, gifted young father and enchanting, flirtatious mother fall victim to time and roads not taken.Fluidly moving across the hopes and struggles of many generations, American Elegy blossoms as the author works to reconcile the avalanche of the past with his own life far away from Parnassus. Through the story of his family, he masterfully explores the transformation of the people of a once vibrant culture into the ghosts of the past.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 227 pages
  • 152.4 x 223.52 x 22.86mm | 408.23g
  • Dutton Books
  • United States
  • English
  • 0525941223
  • 9780525941224

Rating details

6 ratings
3.16 out of 5 stars
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4 17% (1)
3 83% (5)
2 0% (0)
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