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Green Grass, Running Water Paperback – June 1, 1994


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 469 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam Books; Reprint edition (June 1, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553373684
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553373684
  • Product Dimensions: 7.7 x 5.4 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #28,485 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Fresh, inventive, funny and intriguing, this latest novel from King ( Medicine River ) is an imaginative exploration of contemporary Native American culture. The plot revolves around the escape from a mental hospital of four very old Indians called Ishmael, Hawkeye, Robinson Crusoe and the Lone Ranger. These, however, are no ordinary natives. They may be the last survivors of the Indians interned at Fort Marion in Florida in the 19th century. Or perhaps they are the first human beings, as described in tribal creation myths. Their repeated breakouts--37 to date--have coincided with disasters: the 1929 stock market crash, the eruption of Mt. St. Helens, etc. Their mission this time brings them into the lives of an eccentric Canadian Blackfoot family: Lionel Red Dog, who sells TV sets and has no ambition; his sister Latisha, who owns a restaurant that bilks thrill-seeking tourists by purporting to serve them dog meat; Uncle Eli Stands Alone, a former university professor who is determined to prevent the operation of a dam on Indian land; and Charlie Looking Bear, a smarmy lawyer who works for the company opposing Eli's cause. Wavering emotionally between Lionel and Charlie is Alberta Frank, who dates both of them and wants a baby but knows that neither man is husband material. King, a professor of Native American studies at the University of Minnesota, skillfully interweaves Native American and EuroAmerican literatures, exploring the truths of each. He mixes satire, myth and magic into a complex story line that moves smartly from Canada to Wounded Knee to Hollywood, and to a place beyond time where God and the native trickster, Coyote, converse. With this clever, vastly entertaining novel, he establishes himself firmly as one of the first rank of contemporary Native American writers--and as a gifted storyteller of universal relevance. Author tour. (Mar.) .
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

King's auspicious debut novel, Medicine River ( LJ 8/90), garnered critical acclaim and popular success (including being transformed into a TV movie). This encore, a genially wild tale with a serious heart, confirms the author's prowess. It involves the creation of a creation story, the mission of four ancient Indians, and the comparatively realistic doings of 40-year-old-adolescent Lionel Red Dog, unfazable cleaning woman Babo, and various memorable Blackfoot and others in scenic Alberta. Clever verbal motifs not only connect the stories but add fun visual themes, including missing cars and a ubiquitous Western movie. In the end, everyone is thrown together by an earthquake at white human-made Parliament Lake, compliments of the four old Indians and the loopy trickster Coyote. Smart and entertaining, this novel deserves a big audience. Essential for public libraries.
- Janet Ingraham, Worthington P.L., Ohio
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Thomas King is an award-winning novelist, short story writer, scriptwriter, and photographer. His many books include the novels Medicine River; Green Grass, Running Water; Truth and Bright Water; two short story collections, One Good Story, That One (Minnesota, 2013) and A Short History of Indians in Canada (Minnesota, 2013); nonfiction, The Truth About Stories (Minnesota, 2005); and the children's books A Coyote Columbus Story, Coyote Sings to the Moon, Coyote's New Suit, and A Coyote Solstice Tale. King edited the literary anthology All My Relations and wrote and starred in the popular CBC radio series, The Dead Dog Café. He is the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award (2003), and was made a member of the Order of Canada in 2004. He has taught Native literature and history and creative writing at the University of Lethbridge, the University of Minnesota, and the University of Guelph and is now retired and lives in Guelph, Ontario.

Customer Reviews

This book is a very fun read.
Kent (kamoshika@hotmail.com)
This is a story that makes you think, while tears of laughter are rolling down your cheeks.
"spaceprincess12"
Witty and satirical and just out-right funny, it was a great.
Jez Layman

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 31 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 1, 1998
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
... I'd make them all read this book. I discovered it in my Native American Fiction class during my senior year at Yale, and in my four years as a literature major, I'd never read anything better. Thomas King is a genius. He is also, according to my professor, a man-- a fact that my entirely female class refused to believe after reading the brilliantly satirical reworkings of phallocentric myths and legends that he intersperses throughout the book. His characters are hilariously and achingly real; his prose transcends the written word in its effortless use of oral storytelling methods. If you're still reading my stumbling attempts to convey the brilliance of this book, please stop immediately and buy it. Buy a few copies, because you'll want to share this with your friends, and they won't want to give it back.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 14, 1998
Format: Paperback
Halfway through "Green Grass.." , I stopped and read it from the start again. I've read everyone from Alexie to Welch and this is simply and undoubtedly the very best novel (or fiction) I've read about native americans yet. Actually, I think it's the best novel I've read in a decade at least. with Terrific characters and dialogue, a wicked sense of humor and a poignant sense of the human condition, this book is both mischievous and brilliant, capturing the trickster spirit, and the humor of modern day native american people. I can't wait for King's next book...And where is it, anyway?
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By "spaceprincess12" on October 1, 2001
Format: Paperback
This book is a brilliant, if slightly confusing, satire on the way white-christian-capitalist culture in North America has mistreated the aboriginal people. Blending reality and legend, this story pokes fun at the Canadian and American governments, Hollywood, and Christianity, through the lives of several Blackfoot people, both on and off the reserve, and the meddling of four ancient Indians and the trickster-god Coyote. This is a story that makes you think, while tears of laughter are rolling down your cheeks.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 28, 1999
Format: Paperback
This kind of book I had never read before. I liked the way King tries to tell you something about Native American culture without getting boring. Actually my stomache cramped from the laughing after almost every 2 pages. On the other hand the book is not only comic but it has also its serious side. The book deals with native american families who have to find out for themselves who they are and what their culture means to them. I can advise evryone to read this book and if you don't like it, go see a doctor or something!
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22 of 27 people found the following review helpful By J. G. Heiser on March 5, 2000
Format: Paperback
This is a great romp. King has an almost Wodehousian sense of comic coincidence, but with a subtler and rarer touch. Although it is a hilarious book, the discovery of yet another connection between the novel's converging story lines is just as likely to elicit an 'ah ha' as a belly laugh. It's funny, but humor is applied with some depth.
King pokes fun at his characters and their foibles, but he always does it with a certain sense of reverance. "Tomorrow, he would begin to floss." he says of one character when at the age of 40 he decides to finally do something meaningful with his life. It takes courage in a post modern, politically correct world, but maybe laughing with someone about their own cultural baggage is a sincere and accessible form of respect.
I have to point out that from a Christian perspective, parts of the book could be viewed as sacrilegious. Although they are the heroes of the book, perhaps some aboriginal Americans would also consider his reworking of mythological stories as being inappropriate--I cannot say. I choose instead to interpret this in cultural instead of religious terms. One of the major themes of the book is the oppressiveness of western cultural imperialism and its affect on the remaining indigenous population. Its hard to do that without taking a poke or two at the religion that has so frequently been used as an excuse for non-religious cultural and economic activities.
King is insightful and droll--no gender, race, or occupation is completely safe from his biting wit and sense of the absurd. A review on the book cover describes his similarity to Twain, and I think the comparison is apt. Like Twain, the dialogue is snappy, colloquial and believable. The story is funny, engrossing and challenging. I think Twain would have liked it and recommended it. I do too.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By T. Shepard on October 26, 2005
Format: Paperback
This is an inventive, magical book for anyone who knows, or wishes to know, American Indian ways of seeing the world. Rather than ponderously attempting to explain the Indian mind, King simply puts it on display: storytelling, puckish humor, memory, quiet persistence and all. Through that Indian lens, the book examines the interactions of men and women, white and Indian attitudes, modern and traditional ways, Hollywood and real history.

It is understandable that those not familiar with Indians might find the book disjointed or hard to follow or less laugh-out-loud hilarious than it is. Much of my enjoyment came from seeing all my Mohican aunts, uncles and cousins -- and the Blackfeet who is married to one of them -- reflected in King's Blackfeet characters.

Nonetheless, for those who know -- or take the time to understand -- Indian ways of thinking, this is a simply wonderful book, a more polished companion to the delightful movie "Smoke Signals" and the Sherman Alexie short stories in "The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven" from which that film is drawn.
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