I am currently reading two novels by American Indian authors; The Toughest Indian in the World, by Sherman Alexie, and Truth and Bright Water, by Thomas King.  Both authors are very witty.  Both authors write about contemporary reservation life.  They both develop strong main characters.

I’ve noticed a lot of similarities between native authors in the past few months.  Whether it’s an autobiography, poetry, or a fiction novel, like the two mentioned above, I can tell that it was written by a native person.  And it’s not just the subject matter.  Native writers don’t all write about the same things.  It’s the style of writing that seems similar to me.  I can’t really put my finger on it though.  I haven’t figured out what it is about the style that is distinctly native.  I just know that it is there.  And it’s beautiful.  I could read this stuff all day (and often do).

Here’s an excerpt from Truth and Bright Water:

The entire east side of the church is gone.  Or at least it looks gone.  I don’t know how Monroe has done it, but he’s painted this side so that it blends in with the prairies and the sky, and he’s done such a good job that it looks as if part of the church has been chewed off.

Do you see it?  Are you getting a picture in your head of a rural, rundown church painted to look like the natural surroundings?  I am.  You could read a lot into this one passage.  Many people have.  There’s a lot of history and symbolism being conveyed here.  But what gets me is how authors like Alexie and King transport the reader to the reservation.  I have spent very little time on reservation land, or in Indian country in general, but when I read these types of texts I feel like I’m there.  I feel engaged in the experiences of the characters.  They really know how to set a scene.

Anyway, I’m not sure where I was really going with this blog post.  I just wanted to share my thoughts.  Back to reading!

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