Almanac of the Dead

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Overview

In its extraordinary range of character and culture, Almanac of the Dead is fiction on the grand scale. The acclaimed author of Ceremony has undertaken a weaving of ideas and lives, fate and history, passion and conquest in an attempt to re-create the moral history of the Americas, told from the point of view of the conquered, not the conquerors. Author readings.

In its extraordinary range of character and culture, Almanac of the Dead is fiction on the grand scale. ...

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The Almanac of the Dead: A Novel

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Overview

In its extraordinary range of character and culture, Almanac of the Dead is fiction on the grand scale. The acclaimed author of Ceremony has undertaken a weaving of ideas and lives, fate and history, passion and conquest in an attempt to re-create the moral history of the Americas, told from the point of view of the conquered, not the conquerors. Author readings.

In its extraordinary range of character and culture, Almanac of the Dead is fiction on the grand scale. The acclaimed author of Ceremony has undertaken a weaving of ideas and lives, fate and history, passion and conquest in an attempt to re-create the moral history of the Americas, told from the point of view of the conquered, not the conquerors.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Silko's Ceremony ambitious, massive new novel is an impassioned indictment of the white man's rule in the Americas, a prophecy of a revolution by Native Americans, and a jeremiad warning of a corrupt world rushing to Armageddon. But in combining a corrosive picture of contemporary life and an apocalyptic vision of the near future, Silko is overwhelmed both by her multifaceted, complex plot and by her own rhetoric. In an epic narrative heavy with intrigue and carnage, she juggles--unsuccessfully--more than two dozen characters and a surfeit of subplots. The title refers to an ancient notebook whose prophecies someday will bring together the tribal peoples of the Southwest and Mexico to reclaim their ancestral lands. The notebook was bequeathed to the grandmother of 60-year-old twin sisters of Mexican and American Indian lineage: Zeta, who smuggles drugs and arms in preparation for the inevitable uprising, and Lecha, a TV talk show performer with mystical powers to locate the dead. Set mainly in Tucson and Mexico, the novel depicts a U.S. government and judicial system as evil as the criminals with whom they deal. Indeed, there are virtually no decent nor likable characters here; even those of indigenous American descent have been corrupted by modern culture and ancient hate. Despite its laudable aims, this meandering blend of mystical folklore, thriller-type violence and futuristic prophecy is unwieldy, unconvincing and largely unappealing. Nov. Let's run over 2 columns
Library Journal
When the ex-mistress of a sinister cocaine wholesaler takes a job as secretary to a Native American clairvoyant who works the TV talk show circuit, she begins transcribing an ancient manuscript that foretells the second coming of Quetzalcoatl and the violent end of white rule in the Americas. Witches and shamans across the country are working to fulfill this prophecy, but the capitalist elite is mounting a dirty war of its own, with weapons such as heroin and cocaine. This novel belongs on the same shelf with Ishmael Reed's Mumbo Jumbo LJ 10/1/72 and Edward Abbey's The Monkey Wrench Gang 1975. Occult conspiracies multiply at a dizzying pace, and eco-radicals actually do blow up the Glen Canyon Dam. Silko succeeds more as a storyteller than a novelist: the book is full of memorable vignettes, but the frame story of apocalyptic racial warfare is clumsy comic book fare. Recommended for collections of magic realism and Native American fiction.-- Edward B. St. John, Loyola Law Sch . Lib., Los Angeles
Barry Milligan
...one of the most ambitious novels of the past two decades. ..Silko deserves every one of the major awards—and they are numerous—that she has received.
Hungry Mind Review
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780140173192
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 11/28/1992
  • Series: Contemporary American Fiction Series
  • Pages: 768
  • Sales rank: 627,126
  • Product dimensions: 5.55 (w) x 8.44 (h) x 1.38 (d)

Meet the Author

Leslie Marmon Silko

Leslie Marmon Silko was born in 1948 to a family whose ancestry includes Mexican, Laguna Indian, and European forebears. She has said that her writing has at its core “the attempt to identify what it is to be a half-breed or mixed-blood person.” As she grew up on the Laguna Pueblo Reservation, she learned the stories and culture of the Laguna people from her great-grandmother and other female relatives. After receiving her B. A. in English at the University of New Mexico, she enrolled in the University of New Mexico law school but completed only three semesters before deciding that writing and storytelling, not law, were the means by which she could best promote justice. She married John Silko in 1970. Prior to the writing of Ceremony, she published a series of short stories, including “The Man to Send Rain Clouds.” She also authored a volume of poetry, Laguna Woman: Poems, for which she received the Pushcart Prize for Poetry.

In 1973, Silko moved to Ketchikan, Alaska, where she wrote Ceremony. Initially conceived as a comic story abut a mother’s attempts to keep her son, a war veteran, away from alcohol, Ceremony gradually transformed into an intricate meditation on mental disturbance, despair, and the power of stories and traditional culture as the keys to self-awareness and, eventually, emotional healing. Having battled depression herself while composing her novel, Silko was later to call her book “a ceremony for staying sane.” Silko has followed the critical success of Ceremony with a series of other novels, including Storyteller, Almanac for the Dead, and Gardens in the Dunes. Nevertheless, it was the singular achievement of Ceremony that first secured her a place among the first rank of Native American novelists. Leslie Marmon Silko now lives on a ranch near Tucson, Arizona.

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