A recommended read from Maggie Nelson, one of the New Voices at this year’s Key West Literary Seminar, was John Wray and over the weekend I finished his second and most recent novel, Canaan’s Tongue. Thank you, Maggie! Wow. The book is one of those written in multiple voices, set during the Civil War, about a gang of criminals engaged in an abhorrent enterprise known as the Trade — stealing slaves for re-sale; the slaves co-operate because they think they will eventually be rewarded with freedom. Instead, they’re murdered.
Wray’s first novel, “The Right Hand of Sleep,” is also historical, this one set in Austria in the 1930s. And he seems to be an interesting fellow — according to this interview, he wrote that first novel under some interesting living conditions.