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Big John


Product Description

The long-awaited sequel to McClinchey’s Joe Pete, first published in 1929. Both Joe Pete and Big John revolve around American Indians living on Sugar Island, which is located at the far eastern end of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, on the border with Canada. From the Preface – “My journey with Big John and Aunt Florence has been a very long one. It started with my Mom, when I visited her one summer. When it came time to leave, she gave me the manuscript of this book, and told me to take it with me. After all, my Aunt Florence --my Dad’s only sister --had written it! I took the manuscript home with me, put it in a box on the top shelf of my bedroom closet, and promptly forgot it. Twenty-eight years later, my Mom got a phone call from a man named Bernie Arbic, who was researching my Aunt in connection with a book he was intending to write about Sugar Island. Bernie is on the Board of the Chippewa County Historical Society. My Mom invited him over to her house, and during our conversation, I told him about the unpublished manuscript that Aunt Florence had written, called Big John. She passed away never having published it. I offered to bring it to the Sault the next summer, and let Bernie read it. After he had done so, he immediately wanted to see it published, and after quite a few more years, here we are with the book in print. I was a very small child when I knew Aunt Florence, and my memory of her is vague. She would come to my parent’s house during the summer to visit. At Christmas, she would send me books. I only wish that I had been older, and more able to appreciate who she was.” Sue (McClinchey) Anderson.

About the author

Florence Elizabeth McClinchey -- Florence E. McClinchey was born in Sault St. Marie, Michigan in 1888. After graduating from high school, she went to normal school at Ypsilanti. She taught in the Sault until her parents died, after which she attended the University of Michigan, where she earned a Master of Arts degree. From the university, she went to Mount Pleasant, where she taught in the English Department of the Central State Teachers College during the summer, and, as late into the year as is possible, lived on Sugar Island, the setting for both of her novels, Joe Pete, and Big John. Born in upper Michigan, she was able from the first to observe the Ojibway across the conventional distance that separates them from white society; and, later, she lived for many summers on Sugar Island, the locale of her story. As she says of the Indians, “one never knows the Indians familiarly for they are too reserved. But they have come to know me and have told me much of their old tales and legends. These were what I really was after until I realized that their lives were better stories than any they were telling me.” The result of her labor is Joe Pete, a first novel of undisputed excellence. Florence McClinchey has unearthed a world that has never before been exposed to public gaze, a world distant yet near, filled with poignancy, rooted in the very bed of America, and she has drawn it with a freshness and a richness that augurs well for the newer American literature. Adapted by the Editor from the December 1929 Book League Monthly “Christmas Edition” of Joe Pete. Big John is McClinchey’s long-lost, and much anticipated sequel, also published in 2018 by Ziibi Press. Florence McClinchey, was critically injured in an automobile accident on May 26, 1946, in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan. At the time, she was Associate Professor of English at Central Michigan College (now Central Michigan University). She died of her injuries on June 13.

Other Details

Florence Elizabeth McClinchey
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