Mean Spirit

Mean Spirit

4.5 2
by Linda K. Hogan
     
 

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SELECTED BY THE LITERARY GUILD
"Extraordinary...If you take up no other novel this year, or next, this one will suffice to hold, to disturb, to enlighten and to inspire you."
NEWSDAY
Early in this century, rivers of oil were found beneath Oklahoma land belonging to Indian people, and beautiful Grace Banket became the richest person in the

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Overview

SELECTED BY THE LITERARY GUILD
"Extraordinary...If you take up no other novel this year, or next, this one will suffice to hold, to disturb, to enlighten and to inspire you."
NEWSDAY
Early in this century, rivers of oil were found beneath Oklahoma land belonging to Indian people, and beautiful Grace Banket became the richest person in the Territory. But she was murdered by the greed of white men, and the Graycloud family, who cared for her daughter, began dying mysteriously. Letters sent to Washington, D.C. begging for help went unanswered, until at last a Native American government official, Stace Red Hawk, traveled west to investigate. What he found has been documented by history: rampant fraud, intimidation, and murder. But he also found something truly extraordinary—his deepest self and abiding love for his people, and their brave past.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Set in Oklahoma during the oil boom of the early 1920s, this brooding and profoundly moving first novel focuses on two doomed Osage Indian families, the Blankets and the Grayclouds. The brutal murder of Grace Blanket, owner of oil-rich land, witnessed in horror by her young daughter Nola and Nola's friend Rena Graycloud, is only the first of a series of violent events designed to coerce the tribes and put their lands into the hands of the oil barons. Justice is slow and ambiguous. When Stace Red Hawk, a policeman with the U.S. Bureau of Investigation, finds his inquiries blocked and his efforts frustrated by evasive and corrupt federal officials, he travels from Washington, D.C., to Oklahoma to investigate firsthand. Soon, like many of the Indian families depicted here, Stace is torn between the glitter of 20th-century life and the pull of sacred traditions. Hogan, a poet, professor and member of the Chickasaw tribe, mines a rich vein of Indian customs and rituals, and approaches her characters with reverence, bringing them to life with quick, spare phrases. Her absorbing novel pays elegiac tribute to the slow and irrevocable breakup of centuries of culture. (Oct.)
Library Journal
In her debut as a novelist, poet and essayist Hogan chronicles the effects of the 1920s Oklahoma oil boom on two Native American families, people entirely unprepared for the consequences of a sudden and unprecedented influx of wealth. Herself a member of the Oklahoma Chickasaw tribe, Hogan tells the story of heretofore worthless land allotted to Indians in the early years of the 20th century. Wells originally drilled for water bring forth only ``the thick black fluid that had no use at all for growing corn or tomatoes,'' and ``the Barren Land'' is transformed virtually overnight into ``the Baron Land.'' Writing in a spare, compact style, Hogan sketches the bewilderment, hope, greed, and ultimate tragedy brought on by sudden (mis)fortune in this fine, sad first novel. Recommended.-- Richard Churchill, Univ. of Baltimore
School Library Journal
YA-- An intense, haunting tale of the Osage Indians in the 1920s. The mystery begins when Nora Blanket, a Native American, witnesses her mother's murder. This killing is only the first of many as white men try to steal the Indians' oil-rich land and personal fortunes. The Osage try to protect themselves and their way of life, but the situation becomes hopeless, especially when the sheriff and government investigators are suspected of participating in the murders. YAs will enjoy the suspense and unexpected twists of the story line, but they will also find it thought-provoking and unsettling. Through this tribe, readers experience the injustice inherent in cultural prejudice as they did in Griffin's Black Like Me (NAL, 1961), and they confront government corruption firsthand. The moving descriptions of Indian values highlight current environmental concerns. A valuable supplement to social-studies classes.-- Lynda Voyles, R. E. Lee High School, Springfield, VA

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780804108638
Publisher:
Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
11/28/1991
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
377
Sales rank:
414,513
Product dimensions:
4.16(w) x 6.85(h) x 0.86(d)

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