Nayana Renukumar's Reviews > Caleb's Crossing

Caleb's Crossing by Geraldine Brooks
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's review
Jul 16, 2012

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Read in July, 2012

A well-written book which got its title entirely wrong. The way it is, the story has little to do with Caleb and all to do with Bethia, the narrator. This mismatch between the story and the title somehow grated in me throughout the reading and I was trying to find justifications on the authors's behalf and this is the best I could come up with.

"The story mentions how the women of these new colonies were expected to keep their heads low, maintain their silence, and give centre stage to the men. The author is probably playing out this inequity in the title to make the readers conscious about the underlying philosophy". :)

Though the above is a benign justification, on a nasty note, I feel that the author thought the 'Indian' Caleb's struggle to be more fashionable and eye catching compared to that of Bethia, a struggle for women's education and autonomy, a theme done to death in literature.

For this book to be Caleb's crossing, one needs to understand the reasons for the surprise choices he made, the mental struggle he went through and the physical and mental barriers he almost overcame. In the absence of any of these, the book remains a nice 'Bethia's crossing' not Caleb's.


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