This wonderful volume of stories, told in both prose and poetry, floats between memoir and fiction, history and storytelling. To tell his story, Young Bear creates a fictional counterpart to Iowa's Mesquakie Settlement, where he is an enrolled, lifelong resident, and the fictional persona of Edgar Bearchild. Bearchild's account of childhood to young manhood, from the Fifties through the Seventies, mixes the common history of drugs, Vietnam, and The Doors with the racism and injustice of Native American experience. Interwoven through this personal story are tales told by other speakers, sometimes elegiac, often comic. Effectively the book is as much an autobiography of a community as it is the history of a singular life. This is recommended for most collections.
- Brian Kenney, St. John's Univ. Lib., Jamaica, N.Y.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Fascinating and accomplished memoirs in which a Mesquakie poet blends myth, fact, and the unvarnished recollections of a young Native American. Edgar Bearchild, the author's alter-ego in this impressionistic account (also narrated by composites of characters Young Bear has known), grew up on the pseudonymous Black Eagle Child Settlement of central Iowa during the turbulent 60's and 70's--an era whose conflicts would help shape Bearchild's personal vision. His early years careen between the extremes of depressing, mission-supported Thanksgiving ceremonies and passionately religious ``star medicine'' rituals involving psilocybin-induced visions. Bearchild's adolescence includes alcohol-driven small-town adventures with which many American males can identify, as well as encounters with medicine women, spirits of the dead, and signs from nature. His consciousness filled with Doors lyrics, tribal histories and songs, and unidentified spiritual longings, Bearchild leaves for college in California, where, in a confused effort to dull the pain of homesickness, he succumbs to the temptations of synthetic forms of his tribe's hallucinatory drugs. A year later, Bearchild returns to the settlement, a college dropout with no discernible place in the tribe, a published poet originally inspired by his own people, though the English language in which he writes is inadequate to express the tribe's deepest concerns. Nevertheless, Bearchild devotes himself to writing poetry and recording the stories of his ancestors. One result is this tale of the artist as a young man, powerful in its earthy yet often ethereal style. A unique account and a milestone in Native American literature. (Photos--not seen.) -- Copyright ©1992, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Editorial Reviews