on January 12, 2012
Circles is the story of a young Indian boy who lives his life at the time of the first appearance of Europeans in North America. His tribe are known as the Fish People and live their lives peacefully in a canyon hunting, fishing and gathering without metals and where the horse is unknown.
The boy has been given the name 'Feather Floating on Water'. When we first meet him he is eight years old and lives with his grandparents, Hawk Soaring and Bright Sun Flower, and mother, Makes Baskets. They have a beautifully touching relationship and live in harmony with the world around them, giving as much as they take.
Feather is bothered by dreams however. His dreams warn of impending disaster as bearded men make their appearance in their world killing, enslaving and disturbing the harmony of the world as they go in search of gold. His grandmother, a wise woman of the tribe, helps him understand these dreams and guides him through his steps through childhood to an early manhood at age 14. The author takes pains to explain that not all of the bearded men are evil but most do not understand how to live in harmony.
Many in the tribe know Feather is a special boy and this belief is strengthened as Feather makes friends with a wild wolf and becomes a protégée of a holy woman fleeing with her group from the Europeans. Feather takes on a new name 'Shining Light' and leads his people, and other tribes, to a new land where they will be safe.
The story is strongly written and will appeal to those who believe that mankind should live in harmony with nature. If you expect savagery and blood - look elsewhere.
on June 27, 2012
This novel of historic fiction is a must for any fan of Native American history, or seeker of knowledge, or lover of life. It is expertly crafted with vivid imagery and characters that will become beloved. If you don't know what it means to sing someone home, prepare to swallow hard. It is heart warming and moving. Truly a thing of beauty.
on March 15, 2012
Gorgeous language, an inspiring story, and unforgettable characters--Circles has it all. I fell for this book in the very first chapter when we're introduced to Feather Floating, and I didn't fall out from under its spell even after I had read the final word. I found myself "thumbing" back through the pages to read particular passages just like I return to my favorite poems.
This book was written to be savored. I knew from the first page that this story would require a careful read by me because the story carries a depth that can only be reached by a deliberate read. You don't rush through a poem. Likewise, this book is not to be rushed. It unfolds gently and beautifully as you travel through the pages.
The sheer beauty of the language is as majestic as the images the author paints. Each stroke of her pen is tender and loving. A deep respect and a profound understanding of these characters and their journey is clearly evident from start to finish.
If you are looking for a book with exquisite writing and gentle, yet profound wisdom, then Circles will emanate with you. Read it, savor it, and pass it on to another reader. I passed it on to my 15 year old because it is the special type of book that speaks just as clearly to her youthful imagination as it does to my more weathered one.
on April 21, 2014
Circles is a beautifully written story depicting the lives of the fish people, a small -American Indian tribe at the time of the Europeans’ arrival to the continent. The characters are richly drawn and endearing, especially the young boy, Feather Floating in Water, whose powerful dreams foreshadow the impending threat to his people. As he grows, these dreams force him at too tender an age into leading his people through a time of crisis .
I’m not qualified to say how accurately the culture or history is portrayed. Since it’s a work of fiction, it doesn’t matter. Suffice it to say that the culture is spiritual but in a way that differs from our own, with deep ties to nature. Animals have names and serve as spirit guides, elders are honored, and dreams are visions that guide the tribe through difficult times.
If you’re looking for a western action-adventure, Circles will not be your cup of tea. The author takes you inside the hearts and minds of an almost mystical people, who live their lives in innocence, at peace with everyone and everything around them, lives filled with humor, mystery and wonder.
Some reviewers have worried about the long (and sometimes changing) names. These require a bit of work on the part of the reader but this so-called problem puts Circles in the same realm as books by Murikami, with unfamiliar Japanese names, or Garcia Marquez, whose Hundred Years of Solitude has many characters with identical names across generations. The brief introduction at the beginning of the book is worthwhile and can facilitate the understanding of the characters and culture.
Circles possesses a lyrical style, reminiscent of a book like The Little Prince, but with a unique view of American Indian culture. If you enjoy dwelling for a time in the hearts and minds of those with a different yet beautiful relationship with the world they live in, you will enjoy this book. It does what all good books do—it allows the reader to see a special world through different eyes.
on April 1, 2015
The first line or two seemed simplistic to me and then the magic happened. This book is like an oasis suddenly appearing in a hot dry desert. The characters are loving, patient, deflect irritation with humor, think foremost about the group and feel humiliated if they don't. What a delightful departure from unwarranted randomly used memes of specific sexual encounters [been there and done that for too long to be anything but bored]; random memes of violence. The violence and sexuality of the book are brief enough to fit perfectly.. Relationships of people, generations, animals, and tribes are skillfully woven into a magical inspiring whole story that is a page turner without any cheap tricks. Ruby Standing Deer knows how to weave a story and I am grateful to her, love her characters, and look forward to reading the next two books of the series.
on July 14, 2014
I think this is a beautifully told story of the Native American way and the true way of all Life as it should be. This story has many messages but most importantly that the Earth is our Mother and she should be respected and honored by us as humans only passing through. I love Feather and his wolf White Paws and how they met. Truly amazing. One of my favorite lessons in this book is about The Pipe of Truth and its true meaning of how it teaches us about the joy of life. The greater good. And Flying Raven, while referring to the lodge said it was like the womb of the Mother and when entering you must say "All my relatives enter with me. This means our animal brothers and sisters, our ancestors, ALL_ OF_ LIFE". There were no wasted words in this book. Everything has a meaning. Overall Life is a Circle. Ruby Standing Deer is such a phenomenal author.
Karen Rose Richter did the most amazing job with this book. She has such a diverse voice. She nailed every character's stance and voice. Feather's voice was perfect. Impressive! This is the second time I've had the pleasure of listening to her work.
I would definitely recommend this book to anyone.
on June 18, 2014
There is a gentleness and reverence about this book which is a delight to read. The main character we meet, Feather Floating in Water, is a young man, 13, who seems to have the gift of dreams and other knowledge from his grandmother. He is guided, among others, by White Paws and Moon Face, a sacred wolf who guides him, and that wolf's mate.
I haven't read the first book in the series, Spiral, but was given Circles and so began there.
I love historical fiction, and that's what I normally read. This is quite different, though still historical fiction, because it is telling the story of "native" peoples of the 16th century who left no written language to begin with. Ruby Standing Deer does it well, and the addition of the cast of characters at the beginning really helps until you get used to the different names and who they refer to. I particularly enjoyed the animals, but was grateful there was a key at the beginning to go back and refer to who-was-who.
Though she admits many of the words used wouldn't have been known by The People at that time, the use of modern language is nicely moderated and adds to the sense of authenticity. Her "voice" feels very authentic to me and it is validated in her biography.
There is a gentleness here which I really like. There are terms like Father Sun and Sister Wind that we can all relate to and have some understanding of from our own (American) history. The difference here is that the history is told completely from the viewpoint of The People, not the "white eyes" or "hairy-faces", as they are called in Standing Deer's book.
The reader is drawn along into the story and the trials and tribulations of these peoples as they deal with everything that comes their way. Sometimes, I listen to the Audible version in the nighttime, just to have something so rhythmic and soothing to fall back to sleep with. Given the news I could listen to these days, I am happy to put myself in another world, another time.
I can see how useful this would be in a school setting, as well, as it would be helpful in cross-cultural understanding, and the concepts and vocabulary understood by a broad range of ages. I'm buying a copy for my grandson, who's working on becoming an Eagle Scout and is a voracious reader.
For me, the greatest joy has been in how relaxing and calming it is to read (or listen to -- I now have the Audible edition as well as the Kindle edition). I'm also a wolf-lover and enjoy the wilderness, so it's been a wonderful escape to a different place and time for me.
on October 29, 2012
Step into the world of the past, or the past as it could have been...should have been. A lovely tale about a young boy, Feather Floating on Water, as he travels a very special road, one that will effect his tribe's very survival.
The author takes you deep into the Fish peoples lives, weaves their history around you, and leaves you wanting to continue the journey. The writing is subtle, fluid, evocative, and expressive. The characters live and breath, jumping right off of the page and deep into your heart.
From the first chapter, truly the first paragraph, I was transported into the lives of the characters, feeling their joys, pains, their lives. The gentle way in which the author writes, you feel deeply full-filled. Your soul expands as you read, you wish for it to continue forever.
Overall, an exceptionally well balanced story-line, mixed with sprigs of gentle humor and just enough tension to keep the story moving forward, towards the end...or the next book, Spirals, coming out in November 2012!
Destined to be shelved with the historical greats such as Cecelia Holland, W. Michael Gear and Kathleen O'Neal Gear, and Jean M. Auel.
on May 27, 2013
Anyone who knows me, knows that I'm NOT into historical books at all. I saw some rave reviews for this and thought "hmmm....let me at least give it a whirl". I certainly didn't expect to get sucked in. I had to continuously remind myself that it was FICTION. It read so real. Such a sweet and peaceful story. I loved the names used in the book and also the concept of Circle of Life. This book made me want to be a part of the Fish Peoples. "Don't judge a book by it's cover" is overrated......Thanks to Ruby Standing Deer, I now live by 'Don't judge a book by it's genre!'
on March 3, 2014
Ruby Standing Deer writes an important book with a lot heart and gentleness that captures the world view of a lost lifestyle, taking the reader back in time to visit the ghosts of the landscape we mistakenly believe is “Our Land.”
A young boy is forced into early manhood by visions of a coming storm, represented by the looming Spanish ships on the horizon, and the blood that sings from earth, spilled by the race of men with hairy faces, their selfish attitudes and their weapons.
While the terrible future of Native Americans looms, we discover the depth of the people’s love for each other and how it is shared with all living beings including the wolves that inhabit the Canyon Lands.
Since every tribe member believes in one-another, no one stands out as odd or is shunned for their belief. Every person’s vision is valid. The sense of community displayed in this story is refreshing. Contrast that with family life today with its religious bickering and myriad differences of opinions.
This book is a rare glimpse of a life who’s symbol is drawn in the dust with the tip of an elder’s finger; a circle, and what that circle represents, a symbiosis of all livings things existing separately yet all as one. That every being has a purpose inside the ecology. A people who live off the abundant land without destroying it for its resources. In Circles , land is not owned by any person. Land ownership is a concept that arrives with Columbus in 1492. This book shows us, indeed refuses to let us ignore, the way of life that was destroyed.