Michael Dorris' contemporary classic novel is a fierce saga of three generations of Indian women beset by hardships and torn by angry secrets yet inextricably joined by the bonds of kinship.
Starting at the present day and moving back in time, the novel is told in the voices of three women: 15-year-old part-black Rayona, searching for a way to find herself; her American-Indian mother, Christine, consumed by tenderness and resentment toward those she loves; and the fierce and mysterious Ida, mother and grandmother, whose haunting secrets, betrayals, and dreams echo through the years, braiding together the strands of the shared past - and their future.
©1987 Michael Dorris (P)2010 AudioGO
I love books!
First time author for me. Wow, what to write? I always research the authors I listen to to get a feel for their background. I found this author, Michael Dorris, by listening to 'The Round House' by author Louise Erdrich, a book I enjoyed. In researching Erdrich I discovered that she was married to Dorris so I researched him and was surprised to say the least. Michael Dorris, while a bachelor, adopted 3 Native American babies all with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. Then he meets Erdrich, they marry and have three daughters of their own. They move to Montana and are writing full-time, most with stories with Native American themes and backgrounds, both of them having a small amount of Native American blood of their own.
Then after several years of living in Montana the adopted daughter and two of his bio daughters accuse him of abusing them. Erdrich and he divorced over it and then before the case went to trial Dorris committed suicide. After reading his story and looking at this book, I admit I was curious, in a strange way it seemed, to want to know if I could glean anything from the book that might hint at his motives. There are elements of family relationships in the story so there might have been some insights but not a lot, I don't think. You'd have to make your own judgement upon reading the book yourself.
As for the story, Dorris uses a writing technique with the book, mostly set on a reservation in Montana, where he writes from the perspective of three generations of women, the granddaughter, half Native and half African American, the mother, and the grandmother. He starts writing from the granddaughter's perspective, then moves to the mother then the grandmother., telling their stories from each's perspective. In what could be any family, actions and decisions are made at a young age in the book that affect not only them but those that come after them. It's a complex story but Dorris did an excellent job in writing the book.
Sometimes you come across a gem of a book when you least expect it and this was one of them. It's sad the way the author's life with his family disintegrated. But it doesn't take away from this being a great story.
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