A LAND REMEMBERED by Patrick Smith

A LAND REMEMBERED

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A mild-mannered three-generational saga, highlighting Florida's rapidly changing landscape and economies and featuring three men of the MacIvery family--good, honest, hard-working, dull men all. Tobias and Emma MacIvery trudge from Georgia to Florida scrub in 1858 with a handful of belongings and young son Zech. Decades of inch-by-inch toil ensue, with a little progress and some mighty defeats: Tobias is conscripted to herd cattle for the Southern forces; the house is burned to the ground; oxen are killed; Zech rescues Emma from a bear; but Tobias does come home with a good horse. Then the family moves to the Kissemee River area--where the capture of a wild cow starts the lucrative MacIvery herd, and friendship with persecuted Seminoles leads to herding savvy and fine cattle dogs. (Escaped slave Skillit also becomes a valuable family member, along with two loyal hands from the saloon circuit.) Eventually, then, after a quicksand disaster, an execution of two Indian friends, and other miseries, Zech takes over--while marrying and also siring bastard-son Toby, thanks to an impossibly charitable Indian woman. Prosperity brings diversification. (""That's where the future is--oranges!"" announces old Tobias. ""Lordy me, Mistuh Tobias. . . Will all them little flowers turn into oranges?"" asks Skillit.) But, after grandson Sol is born in 1884, the family has to cope with new ranger immigrations and the fencing off of land. And it'll be grownup Sol who'll participate in the new Florida's massive land development--turning the Everglades into fields and cutting down the forests, not listening to the blasts of indignation from Indian half-brother Toby. (""Will your infernal machines not stop. . .!"") So finally Sol ends up a multimillionaire hermit--losing his true-love, Bonnie the waitress, in the 1928 hurricane. . . and returning years later to a mini-wilderness, with sunset visions of the way it was. Cardboard characters, static plotting--but there's agreeable regional appeal in the faithful recording of Florida's changing face.

Pub Date: Oct. 16th, 1984
ISBN: 1561641162
Publisher: Pineapple Press