Nineteen-year-old Cowney Sequoyah yearns to escape his hometown of Cherokee, North Carolina, in the heart of the Smoky Mountains. When a summer job at Asheville's luxurious Grove Park Inn and Resort brings him one step closer to escaping the hills that both cradle and suffocate him, he sees it as an opportunity. With World War II raging in Europe, the inn is the temporary home of Axis diplomats and their families, who are being held as prisoners of war. Soon, Cowney's refuge becomes a cage when the daughter of one of the residents goes missing and he finds himself accused of abduction and murder. Even As We Breatheinvokes the elements of bone, blood, and flesh as Cowney navigates difficult social, cultural, and ethnic divides. After leaving the seclusion of the Cherokee reservation, he is able to explore a future free from the consequences of his family's choices and to construct a new worldview, for a time. However, prejudice and persecution in the white world of the resort eventually compel Cowney to free himself from larger forces that hold him back as he struggles to unearth evidence of his innocence and clear his name.
About the Author
Annette Saunooke Clapsaddle, an enrolled member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI), holds degrees from Yale University and the College of William and Mary. Her workGoing to Waterwon the Morning Star Award for Creative Writing from the Native American Literature Symposium and was a finalist for the PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction. She is coeditor of theJournal of Cherokee Studiesand serves on the board of trustees for the North Carolina Writers' Network. She resides in Qualla, North Carolina.