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Fathers and Crows
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Seven Dreams > 1992 Fathers and Crows (Seven Dreams #2)

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Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (NathanNRGaddis) | 720 comments Fathers and Crows is the second installment of the Seven Dreams series, and was indicated by Bill at one point in his career as the book of which he was most proud.


message 2: by Jim (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jim As luck would have it, I have a trip planned in late May that will take me north through the Hudson River Valley, past Lake Champlain, to Montreal. Then northeast to Quebec City, and further east along the St. Lawrence, possibly to Nova Scotia, then south through Maine and Boston. I believe this will cover a fair amount of the territory traversed by the French Jesuits in Fathers and Crows - quelle coïncidence!

I'll have to read this early to be sure and visit sites mentioned in the book. Will post photos of relevant landmarks.


Richard | 13 comments So good! Daunting, but worth it. My review. http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/...

Jim - hope you get a chance to finish the book before you go!


message 4: by Jim (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jim Richard wrote: "So good! Daunting, but worth it. My review. http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/...

Jim - hope you get a chance to finish the book before you go!"


Thanks Richard! I enjoyed your review.

I was thinking about reading this as a supplement: Nation Iroquoise: A Seventeenth-Century Ethnography of the Iroquois

Also, we'll be reading and discussing Fathers and Crows from June 17 - Aug 25 in the Brain Pain group.


Richard | 13 comments Cool - I'll have to check out Brain Pain. That book would make a great supplement, I bet - especially for the later parts of Fathers and Crows. I wonder if there is a period Huron ethnography floating around? You could also take a stab at the Jesuit Relations (though I think I would read Fathers and Crows first to avoid "spoilers" since it's one of the main sources http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/58...
http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/87...


message 6: by Jim (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jim Richard wrote: "Cool - I'll have to check out Brain Pain. That book would make a great supplement, I bet - especially for the later parts of Fathers and Crows. I wonder if there is a period Huron ethnography flo..."

Thanks Richard!

BTW, we're starting with The Ice-Shirt on April 1st. Join in the discussion if you'd like.


Geoff | 158 comments Here is something that approaches a "review" of Fathers and Crows:
http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/...


Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (NathanNRGaddis) | 720 comments Geoff wrote: "Here is something that approaches a "review" of Fathers and Crows:
http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/..."


Thanks, Geoff. Not to be missed.


Geoff | 158 comments Nathan "N.R." wrote: "Geoff wrote: "Here is something that approaches a "review" of Fathers and Crows:
http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/..."

Thanks, Geoff. Not to be missed."


Quite wecome, Nathan. I feel the need to once again thank you for directing me to Vollmann (your thoughts spurred my interest almost entirely)- how I loved this book!


message 10: by Jim (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jim Richard wrote: "You could also take a stab at the Jesuit Relations (though I think I would read Fathers and Crows first to avoid "spoilers" since it's one of the main sources ..."

Of the two J.R. books you referenced, would you recommend one over the other? Or are they different enough to warrant reading both?


Richard | 13 comments Jim wrote: "Richard wrote: "You could also take a stab at the Jesuit Relations (though I think I would read Fathers and Crows first to avoid "spoilers" since it's one of the main sources ..."

Of the two J.R. ..."

Sadly, I haven't gotten to read either! After reading Fathers and Crows I was curious, contemplating delving into some of the sources, and came across their descriptions.


message 12: by Jim (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jim Richard wrote: "Sadly, I haven't gotten to read either! After reading Fathers and Crows I was curious, contemplating delving into some of the sources, and came across their descriptions..."

Okay, I'm sure I'll wait until after F&C to look at these since I have plenty on my reading plate for this year...

I received my copy of F&C yesterday and have been skimming a bit. Excited to read this after I finish The Ice-Shirt.


Geoff | 158 comments Richard wrote: " I was curious, contemplating delving into some of the sources..."

I wonder how readable the Jesuit relations are. In F&C the excerpts Vollmann has chosen are interesting, but I'm thinking that might have to do with context, within the book. On their own they might be DULL.


Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (NathanNRGaddis) | 720 comments Geoff wrote: "I wonder how readable the Jesuit relations are. In F&C the excerpts Vollmann has chosen are interesting, but I'm thinking that might have to do with context, within the book. On their own they might be DULL. "

I assume that they should be treated as archival material, ie, best left for phd candidates. But either of those volumes Richard linked appear to be potentially entertaining and edifying, edited with our short patience in mind. And but I wouldn't worry a rats ass over the Niagara Falls about spoilers in F&C. William the Blind will spoil things plenty fer ya.


Geoff | 158 comments Nathan "N.R."But either of those volumes Richard linked appear to be potentially entertaining and edifying, edited with our short patience in mind."

Yes, certainly. After reading Fathers and Crows, I think they could be really fun, actually.


message 16: by Aubrey (new) - added it

Aubrey (Korrick) Obtained a practically pristine hardcover of this for $3. Now to get my hands on The Ice-Shirt...


message 17: by Jim (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jim We'll be reading/discussing Fathers and Crows over in the Brain Pain group beginning the week of June 17th. Schedule is for +/- 100 pages per week so as not to overtax our suntanned and beer-besotted summertime brains. Schedule is here:

http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/1...


Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (NathanNRGaddis) | 720 comments Jim wrote: "We'll be reading/discussing Fathers and Crows over in the Brain Pain group"

This message is approved and endorsed by William T Vollmann Central.

It is not necessary to have read The Ice-Shirt prior to Fathers and Crows.


message 19: by Jim (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jim The Fair Government Act requires me to report that Nathan "N.R." Gaddis is a paid spokesmodel and has been duly compensated* for his appearance here today.

I'm looking forward to seeing how Vollmann's approach changes with the more recent stories of the 17th century. Should be another good read...



(*check is in the mail)


message 20: by Mala (last edited May 31, 2013 12:44PM) (new) - added it

Mala | 27 comments Jim wrote: "(*check is in the mail) "

Haha good one! NR,be careful in naming your bookshelves in future!
Haven't got this book,will read the updates & even though it's not necessary to read them in sequence,I'd like to read them as Vollmann intended them to be read.


Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (NathanNRGaddis) | 720 comments Brain Pain has begun their reading of Fathers and Crows. It's not too late to join in with the reading, or if you've already read it, to follow and join in the discussions :: https://www.goodreads.com/topic/group...


Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (NathanNRGaddis) | 720 comments Fathers and Crows is a book which, at one point in his career, Bill was most proud of. And it over-flows into his other books. Fathers and Crows can't help but appear in what may be every section of his massive Rising Up Rising Down. I'm quite happy to have read through his story of this corner of USofA history prior to undertaking his massive ethical work. I'm not sure which one supplements which, but F&C, despite being a very weird book and at times frustrating for the reader of average historical=fictions, is important for the future Vollmann scholar to read early in their reading of Bill's books. [as noted earlier, RURD also functions as Bill's own background study for the writing of Europe Central]


message 23: by Geoff (last edited Aug 29, 2013 10:54AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Geoff | 158 comments Fathers and Crows makes a few vague and mysterious appearances in Imperial also- through references to Jesuit missions in California, attempting the same spiritual conversions, but also through a link to Indian exploitation along the Mexican border- readers of both books can't help but see similarities. Argall also resonates in Imperial for a variety of reasons- exploitation of agriculture, local populations and resources, etc.- but what's interesting is how much the topic of rivers and bodies of water (and this can even link back to The Ice-Shirt... who brought ice to Vineland the good??) are ever present, as symbols and as realities, in his American history books. And why not see Imperial as an 8th Dream?


James | 77 comments Geoff, you keep bumping Imperial up my reading list.

Just finished Fathers and Crows. I enjoyed it more than the Ice-shirt, even though there were times when I was slogging through. Somehow F&C manages to be both dense and diffuse. I'm not sure how to really tackle any sort of review, but it is definitely worth the read. Next up is Argall and the Rifles in 2014.


message 25: by Geoff (last edited Aug 30, 2013 07:39AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Geoff | 158 comments James wrote: "Geoff, you keep bumping Imperial up my reading list."

I am loving every page of Imperial, but a warning- it's long, and it feels long, even compared to something like Fathers and Crows. I'm estimating I'll be reading Imperial for around 2 months (or more) at my current pace (but I'm a pretty slow reader). So it's no small commitment. BUT if you're willing to hang out in So. California and Mexicali with Vollmann and occasionally Larry McCaffery (he makes these cute little cameos throughout) and a bunch of migrant laborers and other characters and let Vollmann do what he does best (that is, DIGRESS), then Imperial is for you. It also might help if you are thoroughly interested in labor politics, water politics, irrigation, produce commodities, and the intricacies of immigration policy.


Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (NathanNRGaddis) | 720 comments For those folks curious about Vollmann's research for the Seven Dreams, here's a fer instance. One of Vollmann's main sources for Fathers and Crows is the Canadian archaeologist, anthropologist, and ethnohistorian, Bruce Trigger. Friend and scholar AC is currently reading one of Trigger's books :: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... For F&C, Vollmann mostly relied on Trigger's The Children of Aataentsic: A History of the Huron People to 1660 ;; but note too that Trigger read and commented upon portions of F&C as Vollmann was working ; those comments about the discussions with Trigger (and other authorities) in the endnotes were one of the more pleasant aspects of F&C for this geek-reader. So, if nothing else, when AC praises a scholars' work, please do take note ; and that Vollmann wasn't writing F&C from a public library copy of an anonymous encyclopedia.


Jonathan (Nathandjoe) | 49 comments my review of this is up, as digressive as it is...

I must say though, as much as it is not necessary to read The Ice Shirt first, there are some references made between the two, and it does flow rather well from that book...so if you can read them in order, you should.

I think what most impressed me most was the balance of his viewpoint - the equal respect/distain showered on all parties.


Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (NathanNRGaddis) | 720 comments Jonathan wrote: "as much as it is not necessary to read The Ice Shirt first, there are some references made between the two, and it does flow rather well from that book"

agreed. I note too that it seems that the four published Dreams (plus RURD) were all written more or less simultaneously. The end-notes in all four dreams tend to refer to each other ; and, too, a number of events in the main text, such as Argall's appearance in F&C. I mention this inter-relatedness because as far as I recall, I have not seen him make any references to the three unpublished Dreams. This is all further explicated or complexified by the fact that Vollmann originally conceived the Seven Dreams as a single novel ; there is more on his conception of the project in Expelled from Eden, page 447ff. [edit: I'm not sure where I saw the mention of the original single volume for the Dreams.]


Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (NathanNRGaddis) | 720 comments Please do not miss Larou's excellent review of R&C ::

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...


Alexander Weber | 113 comments Has anyone here read this book and the book The Orenda by Canadian / Metis writer Joseph Boyden? The two concern the same time and place and people. I assume that The Orenda will be much more reader friendly (not necessarily a good thing)... but I'm just so amazed I can't find a website or article comparing the two books. The Orenda recently won the 2014 edition of Canada Reads...


Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (NathanNRGaddis) | 720 comments Alexander wrote: "Has anyone here read this book and the book The Orenda by Canadian / Metis writer Joseph Boyden? "

Welcome to Central, Alexander.

The connection between The Orenda and F&C is quit direct. Boyden says, "Another book is called Fathers and Crows by William Vollmann. Do you know his work? He’s been writing the history of the world [sic!] through fiction and these giant tomes. He’s a fascinating writer. Fathers and Crows had a big influence on me. It’s very different." http://www.randomhouse.ca/hazlitt/blo...


Alexander Weber | 113 comments THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!


Geoff | 158 comments I don't think anyone's linked to this very good LA Times review of F&C:

http://articles.latimes.com/1992-08-2...


Henry | 8 comments Just wondering: My Andre Deutsch edition has 990 pages, in Goodreads it has 1040 pages. Is this an error or have there been 2 prints of different length?

I started reading yesterday and I am loving it so far. I actually wondered why I haven't read another Vollmann for the last 6 months.


Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (NathanNRGaddis) | 720 comments Henry wrote: "Just wondering: My Andre Deutsch edition has 990 pages, in Goodreads it has 1040 pages. Is this an error or have there been 2 prints of different length?"

Mostly likely a gr error.


message 36: by Doubledf99.99 (last edited Nov 20, 2017 03:24PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Doubledf99.99 | 8 comments Henry wrote: "Just wondering: My Andre Deutsch edition has 990 pages, in Goodreads it has 1040 pages. Is this an error or have there been 2 prints of different length?

I started reading yesterday and I am lovin..."


My Penguin edition has 990 pages.
868 pages of the story.
and the remaining pages are the Glossaries, notes, and timeline.


Henry | 8 comments Same here. I'll correct it then. Thanks!


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