Yellow Raft in Blue Water

Yellow Raft in Blue Water

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by Michael Dorris
     
 

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Michael Dorris has crafted a fierce saga of three generations of Indian women, beset by hardships and torn by angry secrets, yet inextricably joined by the bonds of kinship. Starting in the present day and moving backward, the novel is told in the voices of the three women: fifteen-year-old part-black Rayona; her American Indian mother, Christine, consumed by

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Overview

Michael Dorris has crafted a fierce saga of three generations of Indian women, beset by hardships and torn by angry secrets, yet inextricably joined by the bonds of kinship. Starting in the present day and moving backward, the novel is told in the voices of the three women: fifteen-year-old part-black Rayona; her American Indian mother, Christine, consumed by tenderness and resentment toward those she loves; and the fierce and mysterious Ida, mother and grandmother whose haunting secrets, betrayals, and dreams echo through the years, braiding together the strands of the shared past.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This spare generational novel presents Rayona, Christine and ``Aunt'' Ida, Native American mothers and daughters bonded by blood and secrets. PW found that this masterful debut, by a Dartmouth professor of Native American studies and the husband-collaborator of Louise Erdrich, ``glows with compassion and integrity.'' (April)
Library Journal
A powerful novel of three generations of American Indian women, each seeking her own identity while forever cognizant of family responsibilities, loyalty, and love. Rayona, half-Indian half-black daughter of Christine, reacts to feelings of rejection and abandonment by running away, not knowing that her mother had acted in a similar fashion some 15 years before. But family ties draw Rayona hometo the Montana reservationas they drew Christine, and as they had drawn Ida many years earlier. As the three recount their lives, often repeating incidents but adding new perspectives, a total picture emerges. The result is a beautifully passionate first novel reminiscent of Louise Erdrich's Love Medicine and The Beet Queen , but a strong work which should be read and enjoyed for its own merits. Highly recommended. Thomas L. Kilpatrick, Southern Illinois Univ. Lib., Carbondale
School Library Journal
YA The emotional terrain of lives led without the steady presence of fathers or husbands is common ground for the three generations of American Indian women who successively tell their stories in this absorbing novel. Rayona, 15, half black and half Indian, is abandoned by her mother and in turn abandons her Aunt Ida. She disappears from their Montana reservation one summer and gains independence through a job at Bear Paw Lake State Park and a surprising foray into rodeo stardom. Her mother faces what appears to be the last days of her often wild life in the kind company of a misunderstood man who was both a childhood friend and enemy on the reservation. Linked to both is Aunt Ida, the stony family matriarch who lost her favored son to the Viet Nam War and now warms her heart before the electronic fires of television soap operas. The bitter rifts and inevitable bonds between generations are highlighted as the story unravels and spills out a long-kept family secret. Rayona wishes that if she could stare long enough at a yellow wooden raft in the blue waters of the lake, her troubles would be resolved. Readers, too, will wish for the best in the lives of these wonderfully unique characters. Keddy Outlaw, Harris County Public Library, Houston
From the Publisher

“Earns admiration from first page to last...Suspenseful, constantly gripping, original in its characters and settings, and finally, profoundly moving.” —People

“The writing here is powerful and deeply evocative of scene and place. Michael Dorris has created a set of characters so real that they seem to acquire lives of their own, almost, off the printed page.” —Mademoiselle

“Dazzling.” —San Francisco Chronicle

“Spellbinding.” —Los Angeles Times

“Memorable...Marvelous.” —The Washington Post Book World

“Vivid, intense...straight from the heart.” —Newsday (New York)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780833519030
Publisher:
Sagebrush Education Resources
Publication date:
10/28/1999
Product dimensions:
5.38(w) x 8.19(h) x 1.23(d)

Meet the Author

Michael Dorris's adult fiction includes The Cloud Chamber, The Crown of Columbus, coauthored with Louise Erdrich, and the story collection Working Men. Among his nonfiction works are The Broken Cord, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award, and a collection of essays, Paper Trail.

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