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By Leonard Unger;Jay Parini

ISBN-10: 0684315548

ISBN-13: 9780684315546

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419), granting himself leave to move toward healing and a future. With that gesture Caputo too leaves the Vietnam War behind as a major force in his writing. While many of his characters will be veterans of the war, it does not haunt them. Rather, in the 1990s, after the publication of his second memoir, Means of Escape (1991), Caputo breaks new ground by examining violence in contemporary American society in Equation for Evil (1996), exploring a new literary genre with the publication of three novellas in Exiles: Three Short Novels (1997), and for the first time focusing on another historical period, the American nineteenth century, in The Voyage (1999).

The inquiry originates in events at the end of the nineteenth century when two man-eating lions killed more than a hundred Indian and African workers who were building a railroad bridge. Caputo follows several scientists, recording their efforts to learn more about the specific characteristics of the lions of the region. In the end he offers no solid conclusions to the questions he raises. In fact Caputo comments, “I feel divided, half of me hungry for scientific truth, the other half seeking to embrace the mythic.

The effect of these benign surroundings was to foster a restlessness that the boy partially subdued by hunting in the pastures that were just beyond his house. Developers would eventually turn those open spaces and adjacent woodlands into more suburbs, tearing down farms and polluting the Salt Creek where Caputo liked to wander, imagining a time “before America became a land of salesmen and shopping centers” (p. 5). Growing into a teenager, he began to detest the safety and pleasantness of suburban life, and the longing that he felt as a youngster blossomed into a desire “to find in a commonplace world a chance to live heroically” (p.

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American Writers, Supplement XIX by Leonard Unger;Jay Parini


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