Ceremony

( 34 )

Overview

Tayo, a young Native American, has been a prisoner of the Japanese during World War II, and the horrors of captivity have almost eroded his will to survive. His return to the Laguna Pueblo reservation only increases his feeling of estrangement and alienation. While other returning soldiers find easy refuge in alcohol and senseless violence, Tayo searches for another kind of comfort and resolution.

Tayo's quest leads him back to the Indian past and its traditions, to beliefs ...

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Overview

Tayo, a young Native American, has been a prisoner of the Japanese during World War II, and the horrors of captivity have almost eroded his will to survive. His return to the Laguna Pueblo reservation only increases his feeling of estrangement and alienation. While other returning soldiers find easy refuge in alcohol and senseless violence, Tayo searches for another kind of comfort and resolution.

Tayo's quest leads him back to the Indian past and its traditions, to beliefs about witchcraft and evil, and to the ancient stories of his people. The search itself becomes a ritual, a curative ceremny that defeats the most virulent of afflictions—despair.

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What People Are Saying

From the Publisher
An exceptional novel—a cause for celebration. (The Washington Post Book World)Her assurance, her gravity, her flexibility are all wonderful gifts. (The New York Review of Books)The novel is very deliberately a ceremony in itself—demanding but confident and beautifully written. (The Boston Globe)Ceremony is the greatest novel in Native American literature. It is one of the greatest novels of any time and place. I have read this book so many times that I probably have it memorized. I teach it and I learn from it and I am continually in awe of its power, beauty, rage, vision, and violence. (Sherman Alexie)Without question Leslie Marmon Silko is the most accomplished Native American writer of her generation. (The New York Times Book Review)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780140086836
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 3/28/1986
  • Series: Contemporary American Fiction Series
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 52,791
  • Lexile: 890L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.11 (w) x 7.76 (h) x 0.53 (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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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 34 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(20)

4 Star

(7)

3 Star

(4)

2 Star

(2)

1 Star

(1)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 34 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 31, 2010

    Well written and entertaining

    I discovered this book though an assignment for my ENG 355 class and at first was not sure what to think. Nearly immediately after I began reading I knew I would like this book. It is beautifully written and the reader can tell that Leslie Silko is certainly no amateur writer. The story is astonishing and eye-opening, and certainly goes well with the poetic prose. It's a beautiful novel, and I recommend it

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 15, 2012

    Calling all cats

    Scat.l.......go play on your computers and let people review books here......PLEASE

    1 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 9, 2007

    Silko's Ceremony Sunrise to Sunrise: An Organic Native Narrative

    A somber sort of psychological disconnection peppers this story of a Mexican/Native American war veteran. Grasping for meaning in his life, and dealing with scars from his combat. Tayo gathers himself to his ancesters through the pulling forces of the stories, poems, potions and incantations used by Native American tribes such as the Lagunas, in their daily lives. What seem to be digressions in the plot, actually serve quite seamlessly to mimic the mind of the protagonist and devalue the legitimacy of the European imperialists and immigrants who came to 'own' Native American land. The book contains gripping descriptions of the west, and brutal stories of war veterans, and fascinating Native American rituals, including their definition and explication within the lives of the people, whose very ceremonies are fading away through neglect and intermarrying. As a writer, the narrative is a masterwork of flashback, foreshadowing and cross-genre (poetry) of the skill and authenticity of which I've never seen and I learned inkwells full of style and verbal alacrity from this piece. Silko's research in Christianity is weak, describing it through Tayo, without an understanding of it. It would have been interesting to see some kind of comparison between Native American religion and Christianity, if researched properly, as it could add interesting conflicts and depth. All in all this is a master work of American literature, and a must read for a modern fiction writer or one curious about Native Americans, or any person who wants to read the best of the best in literature.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 7, 2013

    Icestorm

    Icestorm sits quietly, waiting for someone to come.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 29, 2013

    Fantastic

    Really amazing book that is fascinating

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 26, 2013

    Beautifully written. Poetic. Sad. Graphic. But, never angry. Art

    Beautifully written. Poetic. Sad. Graphic. But, never angry. Art in its purest form.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 11, 2012

    Willowkit and Lionkit

    *Lionkit padded in* Can we be made apprentices with snowkit and stormkit?? *willowkit nodded* Yeah! They are our best friends! *she mewed and then bluahed, thinking of stormkits kisses* ((ps we r micapaws kits she died so did our dad jaypaw))

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 28, 2012

    Full circle

    Life and history from the Native American view- compelling.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 10, 2012

    Sweetspirit

    Ceremony today

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 12, 2012

    Echostar- everyone read

    The ceremony is at glove first result. Some cats cannot post here. Thanks! ~Echostar

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 25, 2011

    Wonderful book

    This book is not boring or confusing if as a reader you do not take it in as the literal linear storyline, but accept events as they are told to you!
    I loved this book and am surprised and a bit upset that people cannot get past the events and storyline being a web rather than an arc. Honestly! This book is so beautifully written.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 22, 2009

    Boring

    The subject matter of this book was very good, however, it never followed through. I was very didappotined. I found it repeditive and boring. It could have been so much more!

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 26, 2009

    Ceremony Leslie Marmon Silko

    Great book she details the life of wwII native americans and the torment that transpired after the war. It's a book that starts slow and gets fast and it teaches what life on the reservation was like as well as their culture.

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  • Posted June 20, 2009

    A Must read!

    This is one of the best books I have ever read. Silko captures the essence of the struggle faced by American Indians, and I have given this book as a gift and recommend it to everyone who is a reader, and even those who don't read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 18, 2005

    One of the most beautiful novels ever written

    This can be a difficult to read as it is written in stream of consciousness format, but it parallels the quest of a young man, Tayo, and the history of the Laguna people. (They are Pueblo Indians located in New Mexico). The story takes place just after WWII when Tayo returns from Japan, he's lost the two people he's closest to: Rocky, his best friend, and Josiah, his father. Tayo has problems remembering things and is on a quest to remember his past, just as the Laguna people must also remember their past, and each must do this through traditional ceremonies that they must learn to adapt to the new ways of the world because of the presence of wickedness which threatens their traditional ways. For anyone who can appreciate stream of consciousness writing, and also has an appreciation for the Native American culture and history, this is an incredible, beautiful book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 4, 2003

    I read it twice-

    I read this book once when i was in 7th grade, i got in trouble for reading it because it was not on the "7th grade reading list" it just made me read it more than ever, at the time, i found the book to be very deep, and hard to put it down. 7 years later, im reading it again, and its even deeper than i remember. One of my fav books.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 19, 2002

    Okay Book

    Silko book is a confussing book, but it has many different writing styles that you would read everyday. I think that is what makes the book so confussing. I enjoyed the book and I would recommend it to anyone who loves to read and if you want to do a really good book report. E-mail me and tell me what you think about the book

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 23, 2000

    This book is a Ceremony in itself

    Silko has written a masterpiece! The exploration (and exploitation) of cultures in this book leads us to question our own values and roots. Through the mind of one man we are able to see how society reacts to someone who is a 'half-breed.' The vantage point from which we see things only serves to strengthen the story. The only down side to this book? It's difficult to place the events in correct chronological order due to all the flashbacks, but the message of the book outweighs anything negative.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 3, 2000

    magical

    This book is amazing. I find myself reading it again and again. A young man finds himself an unlikely player in the battle between good and evil for control of the world...in his struggle to survive he gives meaning to everyday ritual

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 11, 2000

    A Must Read

    Silko's book is a must read for everyone. Not only is it a story of a much underepresented group of people, but the story of loss and displacement is one that all people can relate to. Ceremony is a wonderful story of a young man trying to find out who he was in life, while being surrounded with the beauty of his culture.

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 34 Customer Reviews

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