Jennifer Chiaverini’s new novel starts with a bang. Literally.
John Wilkes Booth has just shot history’s most beloved U.S. president in the back of the head. Booth, convinced he has rid the world of a brutal tyrant, is on the run, hiding in a tobacco barn while the authorities doggedly pursue him. It’s a rip-roaring scene, full of action and almost biblical undertones. As the posse closes in on him, Booth is still convinced he is working as “an instrument of [God’s] perfect wrath.”
It is violent and tragic, but perhaps the most surprising thing about the beginning to this story is the fact that, through some kind of literary alchemy, Chiaverini has managed to humanize Booth. He’s a villain, obviously. But he is also a human being….[Read more]