The Purchase

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The Purchase

by Linda Spalding

McClelland & Stewart | September 25, 2012 | Hardcover

The Purchase is rated 4.25 out of 5 by 4.
In 1798, Daniel Dickinson, a young Quaker father and widower, leaves his home in Pennsylvania to establish a new life. He sets out with two horses, a wagonful of belongings, his five children, a 15-year-old orphan wife, and a few land warrants for his future homestead. When Daniel suddenly trades a horse for a young slave, Onesimus, it sets in motion a struggle in his conscience that will taint his life forever, and sets in motion a chain of events that lead to two murders and the family''s strange relationship with a runaway slave named Bett.

Stripped down and as hard-edged as the realities of pioneer life, Spalding''s writing is nothing short of stunning, as it instantly envelops the reader in the world and time of the novel, and follows the lives of unforgettable characters. Inspired by stories of the author''s own ancestors, The Purchase is a resonant, powerful and timeless novel.

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 368 pages, 8.54 × 5.77 × 1.35 in

Published: September 25, 2012

Publisher: McClelland & Stewart

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0771079354

ISBN - 13: 9780771079351

Found in: Fiction and Literature

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Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from Enthralling With this story, Linda Spalding creates the world of the Dickinson family. She skilfully crafts complete and complicated characters and yet manages to develop the reader’s sympathy for multiple family members across several generations. An epic family saga.
Date published: 2013-08-13
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Hohum When Daniel Dickinson is thrust out of his Quaker community, he finds himself completely at sea with the world around him. And the decisions that he makes soon become seed of sorrow he sows for himself and his family. An avid abolitionist, he brings his family to the slave holding state of Virginia and because of pity buys a young slave boy he promises to free. He never gets the chance and as one bad decision is compounded by bad luck, Daniel finds he cannot escape the encounter that will change his life and his children’s future. This story would have been more believable in several parts and some of the plot seemed to move so slowly that I found myself thinking it could have made a passable short story instead a insomniac cure.
Date published: 2013-06-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Everything flows from one bad decision THE PURCHASE opens with Daniel, a shunned Quaker, travelling with his orphaned children and his new wife from Pennsylvania to Virginia. In a decision that goes against his own beliefs, he buys a young slave, even trading away his beloved horse, Miss Patch, in the bargain. All of the novel’s action flows from this single bad decision. The writing is graceful and lyrical. Even the scenes that are horrifying are beautifully rendered. But The Purchase is not only about the horrors and the dehumanizing effects of slavery and of slave-owning, the novel also ventures into that territory with which every one of us is familiar: the amazing human capacity to rationalize and justify our most self-serving decisions and behaviours, even those that stand in stark opposition to our most deeply held principles. Sometimes, we even invoke God’s will in our justifications. This is a novel filled with flawed, i.e., deeply human, characters, and the author’s use of omniscient point of view is skillful in illuminating those characters. We understand their decisions even as we grieve for them. Highly recommended.
Date published: 2013-05-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Brilliant Linda Spalding's new novel The Purchase is a finalist for the Governor General's Literary Award for Fiction. Trust me, it's an absolute must read. 1798. Daniel Dickinson is a devout Quaker. But when his wife dies leaving him with five young children and he quickly marries Ruth, a fifteen year old orphan, he is cast out of the fellowship. With no home and no community, he then packs his family in a wagon and heads to Virginia to homestead. At an auction to buy needed farming tools, Daniel instead ends up with a young slave boy. As an abolitionist, this goes against everything he believes in. This purchase is the catalyst for a series of events that will change the lives of family, friends, enemies and more. I literally hurtled through the first part of The Purchase. Spalding drew me into the lives of the Dickinson family. The characters are exceptionally well drawn. Daniel struggles with his ownership of Onesimus, his marriage to a girl he doesn't even know, his efforts to build a new life for his children in a wilderness that he is ill prepared for and trying to follow his beliefs. His oldest daughter Mary is stubborn, petulant, wilful but also kind and giving. But not to her stepmother. But it is quiet, silent Ruth that I was most drawn to. And to the slave Bett as well. There is a large cast of characters, each bringing a turn in the tale. And all elicit strong emotions and reactions. The interactions between the players sets up an almost tangible sense of foreboding. I stopped after part one, which ends on a cataclysmic note, to gather my thoughts. Where could the story go from here? I started part two a few days later and didn't put the book down until I turned the last page. And then I sat and thought again. Spalding's prose are rich, raw, powerful and oh, so evocative. She explores so much in The Purchase - freedom, faith, family, love, loss and more. On reading the author's notes, I discovered that The Purchase is based on Spalding's own family history. She visited sites and settings that are used in the book. I think the personal connection added so much to the book. Brilliant. One of my top reads for 2012. Can lit rocks!
Date published: 2012-10-09

– More About This Product –

The Purchase

by Linda Spalding

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 368 pages, 8.54 × 5.77 × 1.35 in

Published: September 25, 2012

Publisher: McClelland & Stewart

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0771079354

ISBN - 13: 9780771079351

From the Publisher

In 1798, Daniel Dickinson, a young Quaker father and widower, leaves his home in Pennsylvania to establish a new life. He sets out with two horses, a wagonful of belongings, his five children, a 15-year-old orphan wife, and a few land warrants for his future homestead. When Daniel suddenly trades a horse for a young slave, Onesimus, it sets in motion a struggle in his conscience that will taint his life forever, and sets in motion a chain of events that lead to two murders and the family''s strange relationship with a runaway slave named Bett.

Stripped down and as hard-edged as the realities of pioneer life, Spalding''s writing is nothing short of stunning, as it instantly envelops the reader in the world and time of the novel, and follows the lives of unforgettable characters. Inspired by stories of the author''s own ancestors, The Purchase is a resonant, powerful and timeless novel.

About the Author

Born and raised in Kansas, LINDA SPALDING immigrated to Canada in 1982 from Hawaii. She is the author of three much earlier novels and two acclaimed works of non-fiction, The Follow, which was shortlisted for The Trillium Book Award and the Pearson Writers'' Trust Non-Fiction Prize; and, most recently, Who Named the Knife. She received the Harbourfront Festival Prize for her contribution to the Canadian literary community. She lives in Toronto, where she is the editor of Brick magazine.

Editorial Reviews

Winner of the 2012 Governor General’s Literary Award
Trillium Award Finalist - 2013

“With meticulous yet seamless attention to historical detail, Linda Spalding transports the reader to 18th century Virginia in her mesmerizing novel …. The Purchase is an epic novel in every way that matters – in scope, depth, and heart.” 
—Jury Citation , The Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize

"Spalding is a gifted prose stylist." 
—Ottawa Citizen

"In The Purchase, one man''s unsettling betrayal of his own moral code creates unforeseen ripples that sweep over multiple generations. Thanks to Spalding''s compassion and the singular brilliance of her narration this transfixing novel weaves a tale that is both intimate in nature and, ultimately, huge in scope."
—Gil Adamson, author of The Outlander
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