Widow Walk

Written by Gerald LaSalle
Review by John Manhold

The story of this unusual book follows the trials of a family who settled in the Pacific Northwest when indigenous northern Indian tribes routinely sent raiding parties south. The husband of Emmy, a lovely and, especially for her time, forceful woman is killed by a particularly vicious leader of a raiding group, and her young son is abducted. Accompanied by her precocious daughter, she makes arrangements to follow in the hope of effecting a trade, or to “buy him back.” The evolving activities make an interesting story. The book is unusual not only because it deals with Indian tribes of the Northwest, who seldom are the subject of novels, but additionally because of the author’s treatment of the characters. As much of the story centers on the characters’ thoughts as well as their actions, the maturity of the thought patterns of the young daughters and in some ways of the boy seem to be remarkable. The story provides an interesting look at a population seldom presented in fiction.