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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review from Discover Great New Writers
Pierce's striking debut introduces readers to five-year-old Alice, a young Native American girl whose short life has been lived entirely through the looking glass. Hers is a hardscrabble, itinerant life in a surreal desert wonderland of lonely bus stops and ramshackle trailer parks in the American West. For Alice and her psychotic mother, it is the only life they have ever known until they return home to their roots -- the reservation.
For a time they settle down with her mother's old love, Papi. But just when readers begin to have hope for the novel's young heroine, the demons return to her mother's head and the two are on the run again -- first to her grandpa's, then back to homelessness, and finally to a psychiatric hospital for her mother and a foster home for Alice. A measure of normalcy, yes; but Alice is still a stranger in a strange land -- an Indian girl in a white man's world -- on a journey without signposts or landmarks to guide her along the way.
With Alice's innocent voice, from age 5 to 14, sustaining the narrative, Pierce's language is pure poetry. A haunting novel of a young girl coping with a troubled history -- both hers and her people's -- The Insufficiency of Maps is a lyrical ghost dance of words. (Summer 2007 Selection)