Rush of Shadows evokes the clash between natives and settlers in 19th century California through the unlikely friendship of two women, Mellie, a white, and Bahé, an Indian. As settlers fence the land and drive off game, Indians are starved, enslaved, and even shot for fun. Yet Bahé helps Mellie safely through childbirth, and Mellie’s warning saves an Indian village from a massacre perpetrated by her white neighbors. Even after Bahé is driven to seek safety in prostitution, the women manage to feed, doctor, and teach each other. Tough-minded and lyrical, Rush of Shadows brings to life the human dimensions of a tragic conflict which corrupted the winners and left the losers to haunt the landscape as shadows.
Bell teaches literature and writing at Washington International School. She holds degrees from Harvard and Stanford and has lived in Boston, Paris, Brasilia, and Nova Scotia, as well as Northern California, where she discovered the germ of this story, and Washington, D.C. Her short stories have appeared most recently in Green Hills Literary Lantern, Sixfold, The Northern Virginia Review (Prose Award 2014), Solstice, and South Carolina Review.
With this first novel, Catherine Bell takes her place among the vanguard of writers reconstructing an American paradigm that is truer, grittier, sadder, and ultimately more satisfying than the myths we've crafted to expunge our history's unsavory passages. The story's unsentimental denouement is uplifting in its honesty. Along the way, Bell makes us think long and hard about how this nation was built and at what moral cost. A good, deep read, by a steely White woman unafraid to be fair to all parties. Mvto!
Dr. Darnella Davis, Native American artist (Creek), PhD in Indian education policy
Washington Writers’ Publishing House will publish Rush of Shadows, winner of their 2014 Fiction Prize, in October 2014. WWPH, a nonprofit cooperative press that specializes in poetry and fiction, has published some of the area’s best-known writers. Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Henry Taylor called WWPH “among the most successful recent literary experiments in the country.”
Publication Date: October 15, 2014
Publisher's website: www.washingtonwriters.org
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Find Rush of Shadows wherever books are sold. Paperback: $17.95
An e-book version will be available in October 2014.