Prudence by David Treuer Published by Riverhead Books (part of the Penguin Group)
Release date February 2015
August 1942, Frankie Washburn is returning to his parents summer home (“the resort” as his mother Emma sees it) in Minnesota, to spend two weeks with his family and say his farewells to his boyhood. Frankie is heading off to join the Airforce as war unfolds in Europe, to become a man. A Man, the one thing no one has ever seen him as, especially his father Johnathan. Upon his arrival however tragedy strikes in the worst possible way, and the lives of Frankie, his parents, the old caretaker Felix, and Billy are changed forever. Billy, who has been Frankie’s friend and more.
No life in this novel however is more changed than that of the title character Prudence. A young native woman, who has her own story to share in this mesmerizing tale of how even the smallest of decisions impacts so many lives.
The search for a runaway German soldier ends in a violent act that reverberates through all their lives for years to come.
Treuer captivates his readers in this intricate tale, which begins in the early years of World War Two. Titled Prudence, which means among other things good judgement, it draws the reader in when lack of good judgement sets off a series of events which impacts all of the main characters in ways that will change all of their lives forever.
Treuer’s style of writing in this piece brings the inciting incident to the page early, and then allows the characters in turn to share their thoughts and memories, and how one moment in time changes you forever. Through this the story unfolds brilliantly and with a depth that leaves a reader emotionally involved on so many levels. Also stunning in this piece is the ability of the author to change his writing by character, so that as the words are read the voice of each individual is so clearly heard in the readers mind.
Treuer, an Ojibwe Indian from Northern Minnesota who’s father was a holocaust survivor from Austria, clearly draws on his life and background for elements in this particular tale. His descriptions of Northern Minnesota make you feel as though you are truly present, and the tale of Gephardt feels almost a tribute to the struggle the Jewish people faced during the war. Writers who write from where they know, have that innate ability to draw you into their fictional world with a realism that comes with first hand experiences of similar memories and feelings. Its a captivating read for this reason and many others.
The story unfolds superbly, whether its leaving the reader feeling despair for the characters, or chuckling at some of the very smartly written humor (which was unexpected and thoroughly enjoyed) which made this piece a complete five out of five reading experience.
Can only say…Brilliant!
David Treuer, is an Ojibwe Indian from northern Minnesota, his father was an Austrian Jewish holocaust survivor and mother was a tribal court judge. He attended Princeton, and in 1992 published his first novel Little. He also teaches Literature at USC.
David’s works include:
The Translation of Dr. Apelles (named Best Book Of The Year by Washington Post 2006)
To learn more about David visit his website. http://www.davidtreuer.com/
Jumping Off Points!
Anthony Beevor’s books The Second World War and D-Day: Battle For Normandy.
or perhaps David’s novel The Translation of Dr. Apelles.
Enjoy your reading as yours books take you to the edge!