A Yellow Raft in Blue Water: A Novel

A Yellow Raft in Blue Water: A Novel

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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…  See more details below

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 - 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 - School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up-Michael Dorris's first novel (Turtleback, 1987) comes to life in this fully voiced reading by Barbara Rosenblat. At 15, Rayona is left by her Native-American mother shortly after her African-American father walks out of their lives again, and this time probably forever. Rayona tries to tolerate life with her grandmother, known by all as Aunt Ida, but when the mission priest sexually harasses this tough but insightful young woman, she leaves the reservation and finds her way into a new life in a Montana state park. After a few weeks' idyll as a maintenance worker sheltered by former hippies, Rayona returns to her mother, Christine. The narrative switches to become an account of how Christine came to be the person Rayona has known. Aunt Ida raised Christine on the reservation, along with Christine's younger brother Lee. Lee's best friend, Dayton, plays a significant role in Christine's life right through the time of Rayona's return years later, but Lee dies as a youth in Vietnam. In the novel's final movement, Aunt Ida's brief but substantial story unfolds: Christine, it turns out, is her daughter only by secret adoption, an act with lifelong consequences undertaken to rescue another woman, Clara, from the shame of bearing the baby of Ida's father while he was married to Ida's mother. Rosenblat gives each of these women-ranging in age from youth through old age-a strength of voice that matches their strengths of character. The symbol of the philandering priest is unfortunately resonant now, but the novel's highly developed iconography of color and elemental forces continues to stand as a literature teacher's friend. Dorris' work lends itself particularly well to oral delivery, and this production is stellar.-Francisca Goldsmith, Berkeley Public Library, CA Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781883332907
Publisher:
Audio Bookshelf
Publication date:
01/28/2003
Edition description:
UNABRIDGED
Product dimensions:
6.80(w) x 10.10(h) x 1.24(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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