Interview in The Australian
Below is a short excerpt from Geraldine’s interview. You can read the full article here.
When Brooks, who had been living in Virginia, moved to Martha’s Vineyard in 2006, she started reading about the island’s history. She learned that the first Native American graduate of Harvard University, across the Nantucket Sound in Cambridge, Massachusetts, was a local: Caleb Cheeshahteaumauk, class of 65.
“My mind jumped to what I knew, the civil rights era, the 1960s, and I wondered if I would bump into this Caleb at the local market,” she says. She missed him by three centuries: Caleb graduated in 1665, just three decades after Harvard was established, when Cambridge was, as Brooks puts it in the novel, “an unlovely town” where “the air reeks” and the ground was covered in “steaming piles of clutter and muck”. The settlers may have been Puritans, but they weren’t clean.”