When Two Feathers Fell from the Sky

Mariner: HarperCollins. . Oct. 2021. 384p. ISBN 9780358554837. $27. F
In 1926, Nashville was home to Glendale Park, which was built on an Indigenous Mississippian burial ground and boasted a small zoo and Wild West–style entertainment. In this new work from Pulitzer Prize finalist Verble (Maud’s Line), Two Feathers is a Cherokee woman “on loan” to Glendale Park from a Wild West show in Oklahoma. At the park, she befriends Hank Crawford, a Black man from a landed local family, and performs daily by diving into a small pool from a high platform while seated on a horse. One day while she is in mid-dive, the earth around the pool collapses into an underground cave, badly injuring Two Feathers and killing her horse, even as the restless spirit of an Indigenous man who died on the property appears to seek revenge. The ghost is drawn to Two Feathers, and, with tobacco smoke allowing him to take corporeal form, he intervenes on her behalf when she rejects the advances of a white man. Effectively deploying her diverse cast of characters, Verble—an enrolled citizen of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma—captures the complex social interactions of the time. From race relations to social class to working conditions, Verble addresses key issues while spinning her ghost story around the fictionalized employees of a park that actually existed.
VERDICT Readers of general fiction will enjoy.
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