Dordt College News

Siouxland Writer to Sign New Novel, Show Landscapes

September 30, 2003

On Friday, October 10, James Calvin Schaap, a professor of English at Dordt College, will be signing his latest novel, Touches the Sky, at Weidenaar Gallery, 59 Third Street NE, Sioux Center. He will be at the gallery from 7 until 9.

At the heart of Touches the Sky lies the most significant cultural clash in the history of the Great Plains, immigrant European settlers against resident Native Americans. The novel is set in 1890, on both sides of the Missouri River, in immigrant territory as well as Sioux reservations. The reservations are aflame with a new religion, the Ghost Dance, which promises God’s special blessing on the Sioux people and the miraculous disappearance of the white settlers. In the middle of this turmoil, Jan Ellerbroek, a Dutch immigrant, and his wife Dalitha search for a young Sioux mother-to-be, while Jan tries to understand a God who “can seem as vast and unknown as the prairie.”

In a recent review, Library Journal said of Touches the Sky, “This lyrical book will appeal to readers who enjoy good westerns as well as those whose tastes run to more literary novels. Highly recommended for all libraries.”

The novel was serialized in The Banner for the last two years, under the title Things Hoped For, Things Not Seen. It will be available for purchase at the signing.

Schaap’s interest in and appreciation of the Great Plains history, culture, and landscape is at the heart of an exhibition of his photography that will also open that night at the Gallery. Featured will be a number of landscapes and portraits of Siouxland dawns that capture that wide-open beauty of the broad prairie land that “touches the sky.”

Refreshments will be served. No admission will be charged.

Media Access: Download Word Version