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Dead Voices: Natural Agonies in the New World (American Indian Literature and Critical Studies Series) Paperback – March 15, 1994


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Product Details

  • Series: American Indian Literature and Critical Studies Series (Book 2)
  • Paperback: 150 pages
  • Publisher: University of Oklahoma Press (March 15, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0806125799
  • ISBN-13: 978-0806125794
  • Product Dimensions: 4.8 x 0.4 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,722,467 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This schematic satire pits Native Americans against naturalized ones, much to the detriment of the latter. Divorced from nature, Vizenour fictionally contends, non-Indians have lost the stories that liberate the mind and hold the world together; now they are "wordies," hearing only the dead voices of the printed page and the university lecture. The Native American wise woman Bagese, in contrast, hears great stories. She and the novel's unnamed narrator (a lecturer in "tribal philosophies") play a meditation game in which they actually become animals by entering into the beasts' images on tarot-like cards. As the shape-shifting duo transform themselves into bears, fleas and other creatures, the narrator learns from Bagese to hear the voices. Vizenour ( The Heirs of Columbus ) has always been the literary equivalent of a drive-by shooter; anything can become the target of his satiric sensibilities. Here, anthropologists are revealed to have been created out of excrement, and a shaman makes money by using her power to clean up a chemical company's wastes on weekends. The author's words tumble over one another with a poetic ferocity as he celebrates the "crossblood" and the drive to survive in a world where the tribes are gone and the voices are dead. He is a true Native American original.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Chippewa author Vizenor ( Interior Landscapes , LJ 7/90) continues his exploration of urban mixed-blood Indians, whom he calls crossbloods, in this cycle of trickster tales told by a woman/bear named Bagese. Using the "wanaki" game, a device to meditate on animal voices in the natural world, Bagese explores urban crossblood society through the eyes of a bear, beaver, squirrel, crow, flea, praying mantis, and, finally, a trickster. Sly and humorous, these stories poke fun at the ways of the "wordies" (white people) as interpreted by the various animal tricksters. Full of fantastic images presented in a lyrical writing style, Vizenor's work demands an acceptance of other realities while it challenges the New Age shamans.
- Lisa A. Mitten, Univ. of Pittsburgh Lib.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 27, 1998
Format: Hardcover
The message in Dead Voices is simply that I am energy, all matter in the universe is energy, therefore I am the universe and the universe is me. And that such energy is constantly being transferred from one entity to another, always reshaping itself. What the protagonist in Dead Voices does is ride this energy. Getting rid of such neurotic thinking patterns of distorted human identity and its relation to everything else in nature brings true divinity and enlightenment. Almost all tribal cultures provide their young with the opportunity to seek their selves and enter adulthood with a spiritual connection to the Universe. The visions obtained from such experiences provide the young with self-actualization and a strong connection to their surroundings, animate and inanimate. Western Civilization somehow thinks itself separate or divorced from Nature. Vision quests provide the young with the opportunity to find their innerselves . The sociohistorical concept of race and identity that newly borns are thrown into is but the neurotic social residue of previous generations. The vision quest to understand nature serves to dissolve this neurotic state and allow for the evolution of higher, more intelligent and all-encompassing cosmic consciousness of non duality. But instead, our young are faced with this neurotic social residue and brainwashed, forced to conform to compulsory education/ignorance and once their fragmented and confused self is formed , thrown into stale and meaningless lives to suffer in a racist system. Gerald Visenor in <Dead Voices> puts it so clearly, they are dead men and dead women in a dead world. The visionary experience dissolves one's socially conditioned, 20th century, hive mind allowing the self to come to its senses.Read more ›
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 20, 1997
Format: Hardcover
Throw out your old, tired American Indian stereotypes before stepping through
Gerald Vizenor's looking glass, Alice; you'll find bears and tricksters
in here! This is wonderful and true-to-form and very funny
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 21, 1997
Format: Paperback
Throw out your old, tired American Indian stereotypes before stepping
through Gerald Vizenor's looking glass, Alice; there are bears and tricksters in
here! Very funny and true-to-form
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 11, 1998
Format: Paperback
Vizenor cleverly describes the world of animalia while preserving Native American culture, but it's not enough. Several parts were amusing, others deeply philosophical. Towards the end, however, the abstract nature of the text kills the creative voice and makes it more post-modern than literature.
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