Riding the Trail of Tears [NOOK Book]

Overview

Sherman Alexie meets William Gibson. Louise Erdrich meets Franz Kafka. Leslie Marmon Silko meets Philip K. Dick. However you might want to put it, this is Native American fiction in a whole new world. A surrealistic revisiting of the Cherokee Removal, Riding the Trail of Tears takes us to north Georgia in the near future, into a virtual-reality tourist compound where customers ride the Trail of Tears, and into the world of Tallulah Wilson, a Cherokee woman who works there. When several tourists lose consciousness...
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Riding the Trail of Tears

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Overview

Sherman Alexie meets William Gibson. Louise Erdrich meets Franz Kafka. Leslie Marmon Silko meets Philip K. Dick. However you might want to put it, this is Native American fiction in a whole new world. A surrealistic revisiting of the Cherokee Removal, Riding the Trail of Tears takes us to north Georgia in the near future, into a virtual-reality tourist compound where customers ride the Trail of Tears, and into the world of Tallulah Wilson, a Cherokee woman who works there. When several tourists lose consciousness inside the ride, employees and customers at the compound come to believe, naturally, that a terrorist attack is imminent.

Little does Tallulah know that Cherokee Little People have taken up residence in the virtual world and fully intend to change the ride's programming to suit their own point of view. Told by a narrator who knows all but can hardly be trusted, in a story reflecting generations of experience while recalling the events in a single day of Tallulah's life, this funny and poignant tale revises American history even as it offers a new way of thinking, both virtual and very real, about the past for both Native Americans and their Anglo counterparts.

Blake M. Hausman is an instructor in English at Berkeley City College. His articles have appeared in Studies in American Indian Literatures and American Indian Quarterly.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Character development and a good story team up with technology in Hausman's innovative debut novel set in the world of virtual reality. Tallulah Wilson, 27 years old and part Cherokee, works as a tour guide, along with her boyfriend, John Bushyhead Smith, also part Cherokee, on a virtual Trail of Tears in the Tsalagi Removal Exodus Point Park, or TREPP, a tourist attraction in Georgia. Her grandfather, Art, invented the original virtual Trail of Tears using an old Jeep Cherokee with television screens replacing the windows, taking Tallulah on the ride when she was only 12 years old. "Grandpa said that the Indians walking the Trail were digital and couldn't see inside the car, but Tallulah thought they stared right through her... thousands and thousands of digital eyes." On one of Tallulah's tours, which consists of 11 people—a "motley bunch" is Tallulah's assessment—strange things start to happen, an imminent terrorist attack is suspected, and Cherokee residents inside the virtual world plan to change the ride's programming and point of view. Hausman, who has published articles in Native American Indian journals, addresses and revises this piece of America's past, taking readers on an unforgettable ride of their own. (Mar.)
Bharati Mukherjee

“A dazzling futurist novel about a traumatic episode in U.S. history. Reader, when you accept Blake Hausman’s invitation to ride the Trail of Tears in a theme park, be warned that you will become a participant in the Cherokee Removal, and not simply a witness.”—Bharati Mukherjee, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award and author of The Tree Bride
John Purdy

“There are few authors who take this kind of narrative risk in Native literatures. Histories of the Trail of Tears have been published, but Blake Hausman’s telling of it is unique.”—John Purdy, coeditor of Nothing but the Truth: An Anthology of Native American Literature
Booklist

"Hausman's ironic tale of revising this shameful and horrific historic moment so that Anglos experience in virtual time what the Cherokee suffered 175 years ago is humorous and uniquely moving."—Deborah Donovan, Booklist

— Deborah Donovan

Big Muddy

"Riding the Trail of Tears is an engaging and entertaining read. . . . It has a narrative and a main character that keeps a reader wanting to keep going all the way through."—Matthew Long, Big Muddy

— Matthew Long

Booklist - Deborah Donovan

"Hausman's ironic tale of revising this shameful and horrific historic moment so that Anglos experience in virtual time what the Cherokee suffered 175 years ago is humorous and uniquely moving."—Deborah Donovan, Booklist
Big Muddy - Matthew Long

"Riding the Trail of Tears is an engaging and entertaining read. . . . It has a narrative and a main character that keeps a reader wanting to keep going all the way through."—Matthew Long, Big Muddy
Library Journal
Always interesting and sometimes inspired, this first novel is a riff on one of the most shameful acts committed by the United States on its indigenous peoples—the Cherokee Removal of 1836–39, or the Trail of Tears, when thousands of Native Americans were uprooted from their homes in the South and transported forcibly to the Indian Territories (what is now Oklahoma). Over 4000 died en route from hunger or disease, or were murdered by the troops guarding them. Hausman has reconceived this tragic event as a seriocomedy. The action takes place in a virtual reality theme park, with two quite different sets of characters. Real spectators are being guided on their virtual tour by a three-quarter-blood Cherokee, Tallulah Wilson, but suddenly virtual Native Americans stage a rebellion against their unreal status. In the process of telling these stories, which do not always cohere, Hausman provides information about Native American history and the lore and sensitivities of today's Native Americans. VERDICT This experimental novel doesn't always work, but it offers much that can't be found elsewhere in today's fiction.—David Keymer, Modesto, CA
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780803235052
  • Publisher: University of Nebraska Press
  • Publication date: 3/1/2011
  • Series: Native Storiers
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Sales rank: 856,257
  • File size: 366 KB

Meet the Author


Blake M. Hausman is an instructor in English at Berkeley City College. His articles have appeared in Studies in American Indian Literatures and American Indian Quarterly.
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