In this, the first of the Leatherstocking Tales, we meet Natty Bumppo as a young man living in upstate New York in the early 1740s. Bumppo, called Deerslayer, and his friend Hurry Harry approach Lake Glimmerglass, or Otsego, where the trapper Thomas Hutter lives with his daughters, the beautiful Judith and the feeble-minded Hetty.
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This novel is a product of its times. Most likely Cooper wrote this while residing in Paris with his family. Many of the descriptions of the landscape are drawn from his own recollections and stories he heard in his youth, from elders alive during the Seven-Years War. Modern audiobook versions are available to read by competent voice actors, which smooths the vernacular of the day into something more palatable to the 21st-century ear. Good luck —Its worth it!
I am not a total illiterate and I've managed to read and enjoy Kipling and Tolstoy, but this was virtually unreadable. I got to the end of it by the expedient of flicking past a dozen pages every time I became bogged down in the interminable prosing. Trust me, you wont miss anything - this author clearly believed that a sentence wouldn't suffice to describe the briefest of events when a chapter or two could be used instead.