Last updated on September 12th, 2016This novel is a finely drawn, simply worded tale told by the mature spirit of a deeply wounded boy caught between two worlds, neither of which he understands, yet artfully told through the eyes and voice of the boy. There is a great sense of mystery throughout the book, the mystery that any child feels faced with the adult world, but in this case, he is caught between nonsensical court proceedings for a custody battle over him, and a baffling yet intriguing tradition whose language he doesn’t know. Terrible things happen to this boy, the horror of which we readers experience. We suffer the judgments he receives unjustly, and like him come to anticipate more, even as he grows in his understanding of which voices strengthen, and which voices punish. There is also a great presence of the natural world in this book, in the land and its creatures, streams, trees, and in its elements of water, fire, stone. The respectful, fully intertwined relationship the Elders have with the natural world carries their teaching wordlessly to this boy, and to us as readers.
“Why me?” the boy asks well into the story, and by that time, we are wondering too, about our own lives and the things and people placed before us to suffer through and handle. He doesn’t want to be with those he is born to be with, and he is really doesn’t belong among those who have so much to show him. As a result he must become simply himself. He doesn’t yet know who he will become, and neither do we, only that he is layered with awarenesses, and accompanied by unseen, kind friends.
An important book that in no way exploits or trivializes indigenous American spirituality. There is much to “get” in this novel. It’s the kind of book one returns to from time to time for another deep drink. It’s a rich story that will doubtless look different every time. That’s my kind of novel.
Go to Roots&Wings Publishing for more information.