DARK TREES TO THE WIND by Carl Carmer

DARK TREES TO THE WIND

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KIRKUS REVIEW

This has more autobiographical material than Carmer's earlier regional books (Stars Fell on Alabama and Listen for a Lonesome Drum) -- for here he has returned to that part of York state he knows best,- Albion. Oswego, Onondaga, the Finger Lakes district, the Genesee Valley -- central New York to those who know it only in transit. Read as folk lore and legend, it has an extraordinary blend of past and present, so that one feels in reading almost a part of legend in the making. Read as autobiography it has a quality of contributing to intimacy with the writer by sharing with him the background of place and people which contributed to his development. Again and again, his life- at some point or other- touched the lives of those whose stories he tells. For example, the incredible career of Lon Whiteman, swindler on a grand scale, has a more human quality because to the boy Carl, there was something of the hero in Lon, local character gone bad. Read as history, the stories fit into a jigsaw puzzle of Indian wars, exploration, opening of new frontiers, beginnings of movements- religious and metaphysical, sanctuary to refugees, whether Negroes from the slave South or Canadians during the period of Civil strife, and so on. Read as story, it bears rich harvest for those interested in human documents, yarns and tall tales. One hasn't the sense of discovery that Stars Fell on Alabama gave; nor of gainful knowledge of a half-known region in Listen for a Lonesome Drum. But there is, perhaps, a more intimate and personal flavor than in either of the others, for those who are Carmer fans. And for York staters, it is a natural.

Pub Date: Nov. 7th, 1949
Publisher: Wm. Sloane