Sunday, September 7, 2014

The Deerslayer (Leatherstocking Tales #1) Review

I know that a talented author can produce brilliant works with varying numbers of words, but 600+ pages devoted to a time span of less than a week seems rather excessive even for an author of the highest genius, and James Fenimore Cooper hardly fits that description. He gives unnecessary descriptions of the most mundane activities, describes the land in unnecessary and verbose detail, and throws in an extremely talkative character. Deerslayer is a loquacious character despite Cooper's description of him as modest (and in certain situations as able to hold his tongue a feat which is never once demonstrated in the book, and the Indians unfortunately do not gag him), and his soliloquizing is more truly described as sermonizing and is repetitive, racist (not odd for the time but odd for one of Deerslayer's upbringing), and quite annoying.

With less conversations (or soliloquies) nearer the end of the novel, the story becomes much more interesting. I quite enjoyed Deerslayer/Hawkeye's escape from the clutches of Judith and the fact that his heart remains quite untouched by her. I am not familiar enough with The Last of the Mohicans, so I was surprised by this. I found it rather humorous that after 600+ pages the whole episode leaves no discernable impact on history besides the rescue of Hist (which would have occurred anyway) and Deerslayer's earning of the sobriquet of Hawkeye. The story was rather bizarre because of the style and termination.

I am quite ready to read The Last of the Mohicans and to delve a little further into Native American inspired literature. I need to pursue my American roots and culture a bit better (I do not think I have to like it as well as British; it is too personal for that, but I have been faaaaaar too narrow).

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