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Dark River: A Novel (American Indian Literature and Critical Studies Series) Paperback – August 15, 2000

ISBN-13: 978-0806132822 ISBN-10: 0806132825

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Product Details

  • Series: American Indian Literature and Critical Studies Series (Book 30)
  • Paperback: 296 pages
  • Publisher: University of Oklahoma Press (August 15, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0806132825
  • ISBN-13: 978-0806132822
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,130,093 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"...flows from violent act to gruesome aftermath with an undercurrent of surrealistic humor that sucks readers into its disorienting depths." -- Heid Erdrich, Rain Taxi

"An assortment of unforgettable secondary characters--including an anthropologist who is more 'native' than the natives he studies." -- Arizona Daily Star

"DARK RIVER is his most subtle, most polished, and most complex work." -- Albuquerque Journal

About the Author

Louis Owens, who is of Choctaw-Cherokee-Irish descent, is Professor of English at the University of New Mexico. He is the author of several books, including Other Destinies: Understanding the American Indian Novel and the novels The Sharpest Sight and Bone Game, all published by the University of Oklahoma Press.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 9, 2000
Format: Hardcover
In DARK RIVER, Owens creates memorable characters (one of his strenths, I think) and tells a compelling story with laugh-out-loud humor. Consider one of the minor characters: the resident anthropologist Avrum Goldberg, who wears a traditonal breechcloth and Apache leggings and moccasins. He shares traditonal lore with tourists, who mistake him for an Apache and call him Chief Gold Bird, a title he denies without success. Goldberg's dream is for the Apaches to turn the reservation into a tribal theme park to attract more tourists and generate income, a scheme that does not gain favor with the Apaches, who are reluctant to give up their cars, televisions, and other twentieth-century technologies. This is by no means the central focus of the novel, but Owens skillfully weaves his imaginative subplots and characters into the central story, his concern about what is happening on a river in the reservation where he goes to flyfish.
I think this is Owens's best novel yet. Furthermore, it is accessible to any reader--one doesn't need to be familiar with his other work or knowlegable about American Indian literature to read it. Actually this is true for THE SHARPEST SIGHT (1992), which my then 85-year-old mother compared to Norman McLean's "A River Runs Through It." She would read and reread passages from each.
I understand DARK RIVER is a finalist for the Best Novel of the West from the Western Writers of America, and I wouldn't be surprised if he wins. He has received several awards for his earlier works.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Charles M. Nobles VINE VOICE on September 19, 2000
Format: Paperback
Perhaps one of Oklahoma's better-kept secrets is the work done by the University of Oklahoma Press. To be sure there are some readers that know about the quality works published by the Press such as Lige Langston: Sweet Iron; The Dismissal of Miss Ruth Brown; and The Western Range Revisited, to name but a few. However, I am frequently surprised at the number of readers that are not aware of the caliber of the offerings by OU Press. Thus, I was anxious to read this just released paperback novel, which is volume 30 in the highly acclaimed American Indian Literature and Critical Studies Series. I was not disappointed. The novel, written by a Professor of English Language and Literature at the University of New Mexico who is of Choctaw-Cherokee-Irish descent, will draw you in from the first page and keep you reading to the very end of the 296 pages. It is about Jacob Nashoba who was born in Mississippi, came of age in Vietnam, and settled in an Apache village on a reservation in the Black Mountains of eastern Arizona. He finds a job as a game and fish ranger for the Tribe and tries to adjust to a life of semi-isolation and "adjustment." It's not easy. The cast of characters he must deal with include his estranged wife, corrupt tribal officials, a resident anthropologist that is, well, different, and various and sundry sellers of "vision quests" to tourists and former Hollywood extras that I swear I have seen in old John Wayne movies. Add to this mix a right-wing militia group secretly, to some, training on Indian land and you have the makings for a first rate story. Dark River has it's light side but be aware that this is a complex, subtle, sometimes violent story that deals with the aftermath of Vietnam on certain individuals(not just Nashoba!Read more ›
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 29, 1999
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Louis Owens' latest book is a tightly woven mystery, the story of Black Mountain Apache tribal game warden Jacob Nashoba's fast, difficult trip into the Dark River canyon to retrieve his granddaughter, left there to fast during a four day vision quest by a well-meaning entrepreneurial Apache whose occupation is to sell vision quests to Anglos. Nashoba's unresolved post-traumatic stress from his days in Vietnam on long-range reconnaissance patrols has alienated him from his Apache wife and most of the residents of the Black Mountain community, and over the years Jake has routinely sought peace in the wild and deserted river canyon, fishing and hiking its length. The usually deserted steep river canyon is particularly busy this trip, and the cultural, narrative, and mythic intersections are complex. Nashoba's Choctaw roots bring new facets to the Apache creation stories brought to life in this sophisticated novel, dovetailed with popular culture Vietnam-era legends and backed by a chorus that lends anthropological and Hollywood moviemaking insights to the mix. Brothers and brotherhood, and stories and how they are told (and who should tell them) are recurring Owens themes also interrogated in this powerful and lucid story.
Like a hologram, Louis Owens' novel Dark River shimmers in the light and shadow. For newcomers to Owens' work, this mystery is an adventure that defies the common adventure stereotypes. For readers of American Indian literature, this novel is studded with subtle but hilarious references to other works in the field, and reveals Owens' versatility within the canon. For fans of Owens' other novels, this one is a tour de force, revealing again his talented verbal play and ability to charm and surprise the reader with his wry humor.
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Dark River: A Novel (American Indian Literature and Critical Studies Series)
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