The Turquoise Ledge: A Memoir

The Turquoise Ledge: A Memoir

3.0 26
by Leslie Marmon Silko
     
 

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A highly original and poetic self-portrait from one of America's most acclaimed writers.

Leslie Marmon Silko's new book, her first in ten years, combines memoir with family history and reflections on the creatures and beings that command her attention and inform her vision of the world, taking readers along on her daily walks through the arroyos and

Overview

A highly original and poetic self-portrait from one of America's most acclaimed writers.

Leslie Marmon Silko's new book, her first in ten years, combines memoir with family history and reflections on the creatures and beings that command her attention and inform her vision of the world, taking readers along on her daily walks through the arroyos and ledges of the Sonoran desert in Arizona. Silko weaves tales from her family's past into her observations, using the turquoise stones she finds on the walks to unite the strands of her stories, while the beauty and symbolism of the landscape around her, and of the snakes, birds, dogs, and other animals that share her life and form part of her family, figure prominently in her memories. Strongly influenced by Native American storytelling traditions, The Turquoise Ledge becomes a moving and deeply personal contemplation of the enormous spiritual power of the natural world-of what these creatures and landscapes can communicate to us, and how they are all linked.

The book is Silko's first extended work of nonfiction, and its ambitious scope, clear prose, and inventive structure are captivating. The Turquoise Ledge will delight loyal fans and new readers alike, and it marks the return of the unique voice and vision of a gifted storyteller.

Editorial Reviews

Gregory McNamee
The best parts of [Silko's] memoir recount moments that many desert dwellers will instantly recognize: the near-ecstasy that comes when a cloud decides to open up and spatter a little rain on the ground, the feel of shuddering summer heat on the skin, "how luxurious it feels to move through this yellow dawn light." … Silko writes of many things, with affectionate portraits of friends and family and sharply observed notes on history, personal and universal. … But apart from dropping a tantalizing hint or two … she avoids the one subject that students of her work have been wanting her to address: her development as a writer, one who is now considered among the best Native American novelists.
—The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly
Novelist, essayist, and poet Silko (Gardens in the Dunes) find in her deeply meditative memoir-cum-journal an exquisite harmony between the native ways of her ancestors and the cycle of nature that unfolds in the high desert of Arizona where she has lived for 30 years. Practicing speed walking over the steep trails of the Tucson Mountains, Silko gained an un-self-conscious state in which she observed the changes in nature and spied turquoise, an important signifier of water and rain for the indigenous peoples of the area. Stories of her growing up in the pueblo of the Laguna tribe in southeast New Mexico alternate with her daily reflections living among the companionable rattlers, macaws, pack rats, and grasshoppers: born in 1948 of mixed parents, Silko was early on made aware of the rich heritage of the elders such as in the grinding songs of the old women, yet she also felt the shame of the pueblo people in the loss of their land to the American government and the Indian slave trade. The bulk of her beautifully composed memoir takes place at her Tucson ranch, where she records the rhythms of drought and rain, and recognizes in the visitations of animals and spirits she calls "Star Beings" a fluid and delicate life's balance between human and nature. (Oct.)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781101464588
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
10/07/2010
Sold by:
Penguin Group
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
336
Sales rank:
437,305
File size:
1 MB
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

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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The Turquoise Ledge 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 26 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
In the short time I have read this book and another book of Silko's, "Storyteller," I have learn so much of myself. "Find the light from within yourself and let it flow through you."
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