A Little More On Edna Ferber

I’ve mentioned before – I’ve always liked novels by Edna Ferber. How she takes the story of a family and sets it against the background of an emerging territory, which by the book’s end will have become a state. Against this panorama, there is always the protagonist whose journey mirrors or contrasts with the growth of the land around him. He may a prospector or a drifter in chapter one – but at the close, he is a grandfather and a newly elected state senator. In The Northeast Quarter I decided to tell a Ferber story in reverse. I begin the empire and watch it collapse over the next ten years. Some characters fight to exploit it; others fight to save it. When the smoke clears, we’re left with a small handful. And they will have the strength and courage to survive and start over.

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