Crossers (Magill's Literary Annual 2010)
In eight novels and several volumes of nonfiction, Philip Caputo has explored issues related to violence, war, terrorism, exploitation, and masculinity. His characters constantly find themselves tested by forces over which they have no control. A growing number of novelists have tackled the tragedy of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and their consequences. Some have focused on the larger issues the attacks raised, while others have concentrated on their specific effects on individual characters. Crossers takes the latter approach. Unable to overcome his grief at losing his wife in the Twin Towers attack, Gil Castle moves to his family’s Arizona ranch only to discover that greed, violence, and inhumanity are inescapable.
Caputo makes Crossers both challenging and rewarding by interweaving the fifty-six-year-old Gil’s tale with that of his Arizona ancestors, primarily his grandfather Ben Erskine, a legendary lawman and “the last ember of the true Old West.” Caputo hints early on that Ben’s actions, which include killing twelve men, will have effects on Gil and others, but he delays revealing the connections between the past and the present until their consequences begin to unravel lives. This structure causes Crossers to have a greater emotional impact than it would have had if it had been told in chronological order. The novel is an epic account of how little things can change over the course of a century....
(The entire section is 1742 words.)
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Bibliography (Magill's Literary Annual 2010)
Booklist 105, no. 19/20 (June 1, 2009): 4.
Kirkus Reviews 77, no. 17 (September 1, 2009): 905.
Library Journal 134, no. 12 (July 1, 2009): 79.
Los Angeles Times, October 18, 2009, p. E10.
The New York Times Book Review, October 18, 2009, p. 14.
Publishers Weekly 256, no. 24 (June 15, 2009): 79.
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