AN UNDISTURBED PEACE

Mary Glickman

This sweeping historical novel tells the story of the Trail of Tears as it has never been told before

Abrahan Bento Sassaporta Naggar has traveled to America from the filthy streets of East London in search of a better life. But Abe’s visions of a privileged apprenticeship in the Sassaporta Brothers’ empire are soon replaced with the grim reality of indentured servitude in Greensborough, North Carolina.

Some fifty miles west, Dark Water of the Mountains leads a life of irreverent solitude. The daughter of a powerful Cherokee chief, it has been nearly twenty years since she renounced her family’s plans for her to marry a wealthy white man.

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This sweeping historical novel tells the story of the Trail of Tears as it has never been told before

Abrahan Bento Sassaporta Naggar has traveled to America from the filthy streets of East London in search of a better life. But Abe’s visions of a privileged apprenticeship in the Sassaporta Brothers’ empire are soon replaced with the grim reality of indentured servitude in Greensborough, North Carolina.

Some fifty miles west, Dark Water of the Mountains leads a life of irreverent solitude. The daughter of a powerful Cherokee chief, it has been nearly twenty years since she renounced her family’s plans for her to marry a wealthy white man.

Far away in Georgia, a black slave named Jacob has resigned himself to a life of loss and injustice in a Cherokee city of refuge for criminals.

A trio of outsiders linked by love and friendship, Abe, Dark Water, and Jacob face the horrors of President Jackson’s Indian Removal Act as the tribes of the South make the grueling journey across the Mississippi River and into Oklahoma.

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  • Open Road Integrated Media
  • Paperback
  • February 2016
  • 378 Pages
  • 9781504018340

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About Mary Glickman

Born on the South Shore of Boston, Massachusetts, Mary Glickman studied at the Université de Lyon and Boston University. While she was raised in a strict Irish-Polish Catholic family, from an early age Glickman felt an affinity toward Judaism and converted to the faith in her late twenties. She now lives in Seabrook Island, South Carolina, with her husband, Stephen. Glickman is the author of Home in the Morning; One More River, a National Jewish Book Award Finalist in Fiction; and Marching to Zion. An Undisturbed Peace is her fourth novel.

Praise

Mary Glickman’s powerful new novel is the finest depiction of the infamous Trail of Tears that I’ve ever read. The forced removal of the Cherokee nation from its ancestral homeland in the southern Appalachia and its forced relocation in Oklahoma is one of the darkest and most fascinating dramas of a shameful American past. Glickman turns this to literature by her brilliant portrayal of three unforgettable characters. Their story is riveting, and Mary Glickman is a wonder.—Pat Conroy, author of The Death of Santini

“An astonishing eye-opener, a brand new story of a people and a past, the history of which Glickman shows us we took for granted. In Glickman’s work, we truly inhabit a New World, and it is one, though long lost and vanished, we inhabit in the world of today, a world of many tears, many trails.” —Bernie Schein, author of Famous All Over Town

“A sympathetic, well-executed historical novel . . . In this tale of three ordinary, eminently relatable people, the author adeptly sets Abe’s story against the backdrop of Andrew Jackson’s shameful, greedy relocation of the Cherokees and the land grab of the Indian Removal Act of 1830. . . . Glickman does an outstanding job of weaving together the narratives of her three disparate characters.” —Publishers Weekly

“Glickman gives readers much to ponder on the many ways prejudice can be expressed. Her beautiful descriptions of an unsettled America and its native people are highlights in this far-reaching story of love, courage, and honor.” —Booklist

Discussion Questions

Why do you think Mary Glickman chose to call the novel An Undisturbed Peace?

How do the names of parts one and two, “Genesis” and “Exodus,” contribute to our understanding of the novel?

How is the New World portrayed in Glickman’s novel? What can we gather about 19th-century America?

Mary Glickman chooses a narrative structure that is not temporally continuous. Even though the story begins in 1828, she depicts events that transpired decades before by having her characters tell their own stories. Why do you think she chose to construct a narrative that is as grounded in storytelling as in present action?

How do Abe’s motivations for action shift throughout the novel? Which characters cause Abe to change in the most dramatic ways?

How does Abe’s relationship with Dark Water change over the course of the novel?

How are men and women portrayed in An Undisturbed Peace and what are their different roles in each society?

How does Abe receive the Cherokee and their culture? How does his personal and historical context contribute to his perspective?

Why do you think Mary Glickman included the scenes of Abe in Washington? From the text, does Washington appear to be connected to the reality of its policies? How do discussions of the Indian Removal Act in Washington differ from what is happening in the South?

When Abe speaks or thinks about Dark Water, he is inconsistent in which name he uses. What is the significance of his use of her Christian name, Marian, over her given name and vice versa?

On page 264, Abe tells Dark Water that her pride is a large part of who she is. Do you think this is true? What role does pride play in the events that transpire for Dark Water and for Abe?

On page 124, the narrator describes how Abe changes his religious traditions while in America: “For his own well-being, he went along with custom, tucking in his tzitzit, trading his yarmulke for a cap, and rarely declaring himself. Life was easier that way.” How does Abe’s Judaism affect his relationships with others in the novel? And what discoveries does he make about his identity as a Jew in America?