The Night Travellers

The Night Travellers

Elizabeth Spencer
Copyright Date: 1991
Pages: 378
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt24hz4t
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  • Book Info
    The Night Travellers
    Book Description:

    Elizabeth Spencer is "a master storyteller" (San Francisco Chronicle), her work called "dazzling" by Walker Percy. Whether she's writing short stories or novels, Spencer is acclaimed for holding her worlds up to light and turning them to see what they reflect.The Night Travellers, set in North Carolina and Montreal during the Vietnam War years, is her most revealing work yet.

    Mary Kerr Harbison is a promising teenaged dancer when she meets Jefferson Blaise, an intellectual radical-in-the-making. He becomes a part of her life and over the objections of Mary's wealthy, abusive mother, her husband.

    But although Jeff's heart is devoted to Mary, his life is devoted to protesting the Vietnam War--at first through the public rallies, later through guerilla tactics. As Jeff is drawn deeper and deeper into the movement, he and Mary are forced to go underground and eventually move to Canada. Jeff's activities keep him on the move, and Mary, living in Montreal, struggles to raise her daughter and make a life for herself.

    An exploration of a dramatic period in our history, The Night Travellers is a powerful depiction of lives forever changed by political beliefs and fervidly held convictions.

    eISBN: 978-1-61703-241-7
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-viii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-x)
  3. Part I The Home Scene
    (pp. 1-120)

    They had taken her kitten, whose name was Mopsy. She was white and had been last seen in the large pocket of her mother’s lab coat, the one she wore for work. When Mary Kerr asked about Mopsy, they were vague. Mopsy had clawed the chairs, and that was bad.

    At night Mary Kerr woke and was sure she heard the kitten, mewing on the roof. There was a way out her window, high up on the second floor, out to the roof, mysterious with its many rises and falls, its peaks and drains. Her room was in the back...

  4. Part II Voices from Afar
    (pp. 121-216)

    From the mountain in winter, you can see the northern lights. They come pulsing up the sky from the distant pole, as alive as the sea, awesome, towering, but with something, too, like playfulness, saying some phrase, such as, “I’m coming close! Watch me!” Bright and brighter, then retreating. Gigantic waves.

    (I read it over. It’s not bad, for a start. This journal I am moved to keep because for one thing it is a gift and handsome. Covered with a paisley print in swirling green and gold. End papers. I used to study writing at Barnard College in New...

  5. Part III Scatterings
    (pp. 217-292)

    “Priorities?” He gave her an envelope and held out his hand for some crumbs.

    On the park bench, shivering only partly from cold, she tilted the box into his hand and watched him cast them. The pigeons were making pigeon talk.

    “Is he well?”

    “Fine. Except for the strain. Anybody would feel the strain. Then not hearing anything from you.”

    “Not hearing!”

    “Not enough. What you think you’re doing to him? Have you split and never told him?”

    “Split with Jeff? Listen. It’s me never hearing. I had to call to Ethan—this guy he writes for, those articles. I...

  6. Part IV Reunion
    (pp. 293-346)

    In those days everybody went to the Purple Window. It was where they came to be together and sing. Mary went, too, because she knew that if Jeff came back he would come there. She did not like the music, but she sang along like the rest and clung to strange hands extended out of the dusk. The mellow vocalists, the throbbing guitar strings. They all sounded about to cry. Hands reached out over troubled waters, the answer blew in the wind, my friend. Other winds, four strong ones, blew lonely way out in Alberta. Mr. Tambourine Man was there...

  7. Part V Decisions
    (pp. 347-366)

    “I still can’t get over it,” said Estes Drover. “Why’d you do it, Mary?”

    They were sitting on the steps of the rickety house. Mary was wearing one of the new skirts Aunt Jane had bought for her and getting it dirty on the steps. The place still smelled funny in that way she hadn’t noticed before her long detour through the expensive world.

    “Mother’s feeling she was such a flop with me, and still wanting another chance. It’s Mother they worry about, how she’s facing a blank wall, drinking too much, no path in life…. I thought maybe it...