In a Perfect World ) pursues an early 20th-century utopian community in"/>
 

Eden Springs

Laura Kasischke, Author
Laura Kasischke, Author . Wayne State Univ. $18.95 (160p) ISBN 978-0-8143-3464-5
Reviewed on: 01/18/2010
Release date: 03/01/2010
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A beautifully polished, evocative tale by poet, novelist, and Guggenheim fellow Kasischke (In a Perfect World ) pursues an early 20th-century utopian community in Benton Harbor, Mich., and its eventual derailment. The author depicts the evolution of the colony, called the House of David, founded in 1903 by Benjamin Purnell, a charismatic young man who converts followers—especially young women—with his visionary preaching and persuades them to await the end of the world at the cluster of mansions they build amid the luxuriant orchards of Benton Harbor. Dressed in white and prohibited from cutting their hair, Benjamin's followers come from all over the world, but by April 1923, a suspicious death has occurred at the colony, and “King Benjamin” and his assistant—former teacher turned lover Cora Moon—try to cover it up. One jealous anointed favorite, the teenaged Lena McFarlane, decides to blow the whistle on King Benjamin's seductions of his beautiful angels, leading to a mad rush to smother a simmering scandal. Kasischke explores the sensuous message of this paradisiacal cult, depicting gorgeously a web of irresistible impressions taken as God's truth. (Mar.)

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