First Impression Friday will be a meme where you talk about a book that you JUST STARTED! Maybe you’re only a chapter or two in, maybe a little farther. Based on this sampling of your current read, give a few impressions and predict what you’ll think by the end.
It is 1757. The English and French are engaged in a savage, bloody war for control of the North American continent. Making tenuous, shifting alliances with various Indian tribes, the two European powers struggle to gain the upper hand on unfamiliar, forested battlegrounds.
Caught in the middle is Hawkeye, a white scout who was raised among the Indians. Not fully belonging to either world, Hawkeye has learned to respect the best of both civilizations. But with war swirling around him, Hawkeye must finally struggle to save his own life and those of a small band of colonists.
Fighting by his side are Hawkeye’s Mohican friends, Chingachgook and the young Uncas. The three risk their lives to save a British commander’s daughters – the dark-haired courageous Cora and the fair, fragile Alice. Their chief adversary is the renegade Huron warrior Maguo, whose attraction to Cora and hatred for whites make him a vengeful, insidious enemy.
Written in 1826, The Last of the Mohicans was one of the first great novels of American literature and James Fenimore Cooper’s greatest triumph. The book established the American frontier as a setting for thrilling adventures and introduced, in Hawkeye, the prototype of the rugged frontier hero.
And it is the weekend again! Happy Friday everyone! I wanted it to be happy but I just read the sad news. Celebrated British writer Hilary Mantel, who is considered one of the best writers of historical fiction in the contemporary, has passed away. While I have not read any of her works, yet, she has long been on my priority reading list, and it saddens me to hear of her passing. I pray for her soul and all of those who have passed away. May she, and may they rest in peace. As for me, maybe it is high time to obtain a copy of her highly-regarded Thomas Cromwell trilogy.
On another note, I hope that you have all ended the week on a high note. I hope that you were all able to accomplish everything you wanted to accomplish at the start of the week. There may be hurdles along the way but I know we can all overcome them. I hope that we spend the weekend resting and recovering. I hope you all have fun. As we enter the last third of the year, I hope that the rest of the year will be kind and gentle to everyone. By the way, I can’t believe that in seven days, we will already be welcoming the tenth month of the year. As the year approaches its last three months, I hope that your prayers have been answered and that all you worked hard for in the past months will get repaid. I hope you are doing well, in your body, mind, and spirit. I hope everyone will stay healthy amidst the threat of COVID-19. I hope you all enjoy the weekend and that you are able to rest well.
Before I can dive into the weekends, let me close this week with a First Impression Friday update. For September, I immersed myself in the works of American literature. This is in the hopes of ticking off books from my active reading challenges. after spending the past two months navigating Japanese (July) and Asian (August) literature, I realized that I have been lagging behind on some of my reading goals this year. In my desire to cover as much ground as possible, I nearly forgot about them. Thankfully, there are still three months to reorganize my priorities to redress this and in order to meet all my 2022 reading goals and challenges. Interestingly (or perhaps not), several books in these reading challenges are part of American literature, hence, September transforming into an American literature reading month.
My current read is James Fenimore Cooper’s The Last of the Mohicans. I have acquired a copy of the book way back in 2017 because it was listed as one of the 1,001 Books You Must Read Before You Die list. Unfortunately, like most of my books, it was left to gather dust on my bookshelf. Since it has waiting for too long, I listed the book on my 2022 Beat the Backlist Challenge. Also a part of my 2022 Top 22 Reading list, reading the book makes me hit two birds with one stone. I think I first heard the term Mohicans way back in my high school days. I never expected, or maybe because I may have forgotten about it, that the reference was to a book that I would encounter more than a decade later.
The story is set in the years when both England and France (and to some extent, Spain and the Netherlands) were establishing their own settlements in the “newly discovered” American continent. Both superpowers were wrestling for control and dominance over the North American continent. Caught in the crossfire are the different Native American tribes who established their own civilizations centuries prior to the arrival of the renowned explorer Christopher Columbus. Now, these Native American tribes are forced to establish alliances with the foreigners and their modern artillery. These alliances somehow were meant to ensure the continuity of their own existence. We now know what happened to them as Native Americans are mostly found in reservations across the modern American nation.
But I guess that is not what the story is about. I have just completed roughly fifty pages, hence, I was not able to cover as much ground as I wanted to. Nevertheless, I was able to capture some of the important details of the story. The primary character is Natty Bumppo, more popularly known as Hawkeye. Hawkeye is a scout for the British. When the story commenced, we meet Cora and Alice Munro, daughters of Lieutenant Colonel Munro who are traveling from Fort Edward to Fort William Henry; their father was in command of the latter. They were assisted by Major Duncan Heyward and guided by a native named Magua. Magua led the party to a shortcut but the party soon got dissatisfied with the shortcut. While roaming around, the company met Hawkeye and his two Mohican friends, Chingachgook and his son Uncas. The latter two, it seems, are the titular last Mohicans. Heyward was suspicious of Magua and Hawkeye agreed.
This is as far as I have come. There is still quite a lot that is bound to happen because this is just about a tenth of the entire book. However, I am struggling a bit with the language because it is a little bit dated; the book was, after all, originally published in 1826. Moreover, the perspective is a little unequal. I find both an omniscient narrator and a third-person perspective. Nonetheless, I am looking forward to the experience because I have rarely come across novels exploring the history of Native Americans. The Last of the Mohicans, I surmise and I hope, will provide bits and pieces of it, although it is more about their involvement in the French and British occupation.
How about you fellow reader? What book or books are you taking with you for the weekend? I hope you get to enjoy them. For now, happy weekend! And as always, happy reading and take care!