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White Magic

White Magic

by Elissa Washuta
White Magic

White Magic

by Elissa Washuta


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Finalist for the PEN Open Book Award

Longlisted for the PEN/Jean Stein Award

A TIME, NPR, New York Public Library, Lit Hub, Book Riot, and Entropy Best Book of the Year

“Beguiling and haunting. . . . Washuta's voice sears itself onto the skin.” —The New York Times Book Review

Throughout her life, Elissa Washuta has been surrounded by cheap facsimiles of Native spiritual tools and occult trends, “starter witch kits” of sage, rose quartz, and tarot cards packaged together in paper and plastic. Following a decade of abuse, addiction, PTSD, and heavy-duty drug treatment for a misdiagnosis of bipolar disorder, she felt drawn to the real spirits and powers her dispossessed and discarded ancestors knew, while she undertook necessary work to find love and meaning.

In this collection of intertwined essays, she writes about land, heartbreak, and colonization, about life without the escape hatch of intoxication, and about how she became a powerful witch. She interlaces stories from her forebears with cultural artifacts from her own life—TwinPeaks, the Oregon Trail II video game, a Claymation Satan, a YouTube video of Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham—to explore questions of cultural inheritance and the particular danger, as a Native woman, of relaxing into romantic love under colonial rule.

Bracingly honest and powerfully affecting, White Magic establishes Elissa Washuta as one of our best living essayists.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781953534019
Publisher: Tin House Books
Publication date: 03/15/2022
Pages: 432
Sales rank: 335,148
Product dimensions: 5.60(w) x 8.50(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Washuta is a member of the Cowlitz Indian Tribe and a nonfiction writer. She is the author of Starvation Mode and My Body Is a Book of Rules, named a finalist for the Washington State Book Award. With Theresa Warburton, she is co-editor of the anthology Shapes of Native Nonfiction: Collected Essays by Contemporary Writers. She is an assistant professor of creative writing at the Ohio State University.

Table of Contents

White Witchery, An Introduction 1

Act I Ace of Cups. The Devil. Death. 23

Little Lies 27

The Spirit Corridor 59

Rocks, Caves, Lakes, Fens, Bogs, Dens, and Shades of Death 111

Act II Four of Cups. Ten of Swords the Tower 143

White City 147

Oregon Trail II for Windows 95/98/ME & Macintosh: Challenge the Unpredictable Frontier 171

Centerless Universe 201

Act III The Magician. The Empress. The World 261

My Heartbreak Workbook 267

The Spirit Cabinet 279

In Him We Have Redemption through His Blood 389

Acknowledgments 403

Bibliography 405

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