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Bohemian Girl

3.27  ·  Rating Details  ·  85 Ratings  ·  18 Reviews
Young Harriet’s father sells her as a slave to settle his gambling debt with an eccentric Indian—and her story is just beginning. Part Huck Finn, part True Grit, Harriet’s story of her encounter with the dark and brutal history of the American West is a true original. When she escapes the strange mound-building obsession of her Pawnee captor, Harriet sets off on a trek to ...more
Paperback, 208 pages
Published September 1st 2011 by Bison Books
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Nov 10, 2011 Ruthie rated it liked it
I have very mixed feeling about this book. The story is fascinating, the way it is told less so. The writing style is not my favorite; no quotations marks makes it hard to tell if someone is speaking or thinking to themselves. It is hard to tell who is speaking. The flow of the story is affected by the author's chosen style, and to me, not for the better. I find this type of writing, when not in the hands of a master (Cormac McCarthy) a distraction that takes me out of the story.

The tale of a yo
May 13, 2013 Melodie rated it it was ok
Bohemian Girl centers around Harriet, a young girl during the Civil War, that is given to a Pawnee Indian to resolve her father's gambling debt.Harriet is nothing if not brave and extremely resourceful. She escapes from her master and finds herself involved in a series of extraordinary events, and surrogate mother to an infant son.And the whole time she is searching for the father who used her as a gambling chip.
After finally landing in a town of sorts, she finds herself proprietress of the lo
Nov 07, 2011 Steve rated it really liked it
Shelves: novels
I reviewed this at Necessary Fiction in November 2011.
Apr 13, 2013 Marty rated it really liked it
This was an interesting novel about Harriet (not her real name) the Bohemian girl of the title who is left enslaved to a Pawnee Indian by her father to pay off a debt. She eventually escapes and finds herself in a series of odd experiences in the not-yet-state of Nebraska in the early 1860s. She ends up as the proprietor of a dry goods store - the owner has been murdered, we aren't told by whom - and the foster mother of a baby that has been left in her care. She gives shelter to runaway slaves ...more
May 13, 2012 Jim rated it it was amazing
Survival is first and foremost on the mind of the protagonist of Bohemian Girl, Terese Svoboda’s latest novel. It’s a book that eludes easy descriptions because it can be categorized so many ways: comic romp, historical picaresque, a drama about pluck and perseverance.

Svoboda’s slender narrative opens with its heroine, Harriet, pondering how to escape her fate as the slave of an Indian obsessed with building mounds. Through the course of her adventures, she avoids tornadoes and army camps, the l
David Gallin-Parisi
Jan 16, 2013 David Gallin-Parisi rated it really liked it
Novel written by a poet. Poets are the best writers. Poets write the best sentences that seem to describe events and clauses in multiple fragments, and combine them into succinct sentences. The imagery in Bohemian Girl is wondrous and sharply emotional, from heartbreaking baby carrying escapes to those same people growing up later and learning what their world is like. Slavery also figures prominently, as do Native Americans, but not always in the usual ways you would expect. Slavery is almost m ...more
Jan 12, 2012 Bob rated it it was amazing
Shelves: western
Visionary and unsettling, the book reminded me of nothing so much as Aguirre, the Wrath of God : a history with time out of synch, a detailed, realistic account of a journey across a dream landscape, a family saga where no one is related, and a strange, dark vision with hope and strength at its core. Perhaps more incredibly, the cover makes perfect sense after reading. Svoboda writes beautifully: "Blossom, leaf fall, snow -- the peddler arrives at the turn of the first year and climbs onto the ...more
Linda Hall
Nov 01, 2014 Linda Hall rated it really liked it
Interesting book. Interesting writing style.
Oct 13, 2014 Beth rated it it was ok
Shelves: adult-fiction, western, f
I was really looking forward to this (did you READ the description?), and my adult book reading time is sacred, so I was sad when I didn't really like it. Svoboda is a poet, this is her first novel -- and the book might have been better off as a long epic poem. The language is beautiful, and maybe if I hadn't read it right after a string of fast-paced YA thrillers I would have been more ready to take my time with it. I STILL want to like it. Maybe I'll try again someday.
Dec 21, 2011 Nan rated it really liked it
Loved it, dove right in, relishing each moment. Harriet is such a survivor, doing whatever it takes to adapt and make it through what would bring a lot of us to our knees. This book gives us a bit more of a glimpse into a fascinating time of American history, the era at the end of the Civil War. Harriet will stay with me for a long while--a sure sign of a good read to me.
Jun 19, 2012 Sarah rated it did not like it
Only read half. I didn't like the way it was written. Svoboda wrote as if they spoke in the wild west which was very choppy. And there is no punctuation to indicate who was talking or if it was a continuous stream of thought.
Douglas Penick
Sep 19, 2012 Douglas Penick rated it liked it
This journey with an almost unbearably clear-eyed narrator through an only slightly alternate American past is oddly bracing and poignant.
Dec 10, 2013 Bobbi rated it it was amazing
love the prose -- Svoboda uses wonderful language

also enjoyed her exploration of the outsider and the outcast
Jan 19, 2012 Chickadee rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
While I enjoyed the book, it felt like I was reading a summary of a novel. Sparse on details at times.
Robin Martin
Mar 20, 2012 Robin Martin rated it really liked it
This is an excellent book. Look for my review of it in an upcoming issue of Gently Read Literature.
Oct 10, 2012 Deborah rated it liked it
Of mixed feelings on this one. Idea of story is interesting - book less so, but parts were really good.
Jul 17, 2012 Natasha rated it did not like it
I'm still not really sure what this book was about...
Sep 02, 2011 Beth marked it as to-read
Shelves: challenge
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Terese Svoboda has published 12 books of prose and poetry, most recently, Pirate Talk or Mermalade. Bohemian Girl, her fifth novel, will appear fall 2011. Svoboda's writing has been featured in the New Yorker, the New York Times, the Atlantic, Slate, BOMB, Columbia, Yale Review, and the Paris Review. She lives in New York.
More about Terese Svoboda...

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