Octavian Nothing ~ traitor to the nation : Vol II KINGDOM on the WAVES

November 18, 2008 at 7:59 pm Leave a comment

octM.T. Anderson’s sequel to the National Book Award winner Octavian Nothing ~ traitor to the nation : Vol 1 The Pox Party follows Octavian into the nightmare of the Revolutionary War and the dream of freedom from the bondage of slavery. Having heard that Lord Dunmore, exiled governor of Virgina, would liberate any slave who took up arms and fought with the British against the rebels, Octavian joins up only to find himself and his fellow soldiers being betrayed, isolated and ultimately abandoned into mismatched battles with the revolutionaries. It would be difficult to summarize this book (as a NYT review noted, “summarizing such a sweeping and epic novel is a bit like saying Moby Dick is about a fishing trip”). This novel sprawls and stalls. And then it soars. As a reflection of the human condition, and is, indeed, ‘astonishing’. Do not expect it to be as riveting or surprising as Volume 1, which by comparison had a kind of youthful exuberance to it. This volume is a more mature and somber look at war and the human spirit as we join with Octavian in the complex no man’s land between hope and despair, life and liberty. John S. WLS

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