Information about the author.
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.
Books by Western specialists have compiled many observations and facts about the “headhunters of Borneo,” but the culture has never before been described from the inside, by an indigenous person born and reared in the rain forest listening to the stories and legends of her tribe. In this vivid memoir, Riska Orpa Sari tells us about the remote village of her birth, where rice is cultivated by cutting and burning the rain forest, where hunting and gathering take place under its dark canopy. She describes courtship and marriage, funeral rites, the sound headhunters make before they strike, the impact of the logging industry on the Dayak way of life, and the centrality of the river to all aspects of daily living. As Riska’s marvelous story unfolds, a witty, intelligent personality is revealed, endearing, resilient, and dedicated to the preservation of her people.