Start reading Native American Fiction: A User's Manual on the free Kindle Reading App or on your Kindle in under a minute. Don't have a Kindle? Get your Kindle here.

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

Enter a promotion code
or gift card

Try it free

Sample the beginning of this book for free

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

Sorry, this item is not available in
Image not available for
Image not available

Native American Fiction: A User's Manual [Kindle Edition]

David Treuer
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $16.00
Kindle Price: $9.99
You Save: $6.01 (38%)
Sold by: Macmillan
This price was set by the publisher

Free Kindle Reading App Anybody can read Kindle books—even without a Kindle device—with the FREE Kindle app for smartphones, tablets and computers.

To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.


Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition $9.99  
Paperback $12.32  
Best Books of the Month
Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.

Book Description

An entirely new approach to reading, understanding, and enjoying Native American fiction

This book has been written with the narrow conviction that if Native American literature is worth thinking about at all, it is worth thinking about as literature. The vast majority of thought that has been poured out onto Native American literature has puddled, for the most part, on how the texts are positioned in relation to history or culture.

Rather than create a comprehensive cultural and historical genealogy for Native American literature, David Treuer investigates a selection of the most important Native American novels and, with a novelist's eye and a critic's mind, examines the intricate process of understanding literature on its own terms.

Native American Fiction: A User's Manual is speculative, witty, engaging, and written for the inquisitive reader. These essays--on Sherman Alexie, Forrest Carter, James Fenimore Cooper, Louise Erdrich, Leslie Marmon Silko, and James Welch--are rallying cries for the need to read literature as literature and, ultimately, reassert the importance and primacy of the word.

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

A noted Ojibwa author and professor of creative writing, Treuer makes the case for critiquing Native American fiction purely as literature, ignoring the author's identity, and thus the cultural context in which it is written. In assessing Louise Erdrich's Love Medicine, Treuer delves into the function of symbol and symbolic language in the novel, marveling at Erdrich's ability to work in two modes, naturalistic and symbolic, thus bridging the physical and metaphysical worlds. In the same vein, he claims that James Welch's Fools Crow should be appreciated as a "delicate web being spun for us, not with the strands of culture but with the silk of language." And Leslie Marmon Silko's Ceremony succeeds not because of the author's "authenticity" but because of her exceptional ability to juxtapose myth and metaphor. Treuer asks that novels by Native Americans be afforded their status as literature, not cultural artifacts, an argument bound to impact Native American literature programs. (See p.29 for a review of Treuer's new novel, The Translation of Dr Apelles.) Deborah Donovan
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved


[David Treuer] is mounting a challenge to the whole idea of Indian identity as depicted by both Native and white writers. (The New York Times)

Treuer. . . executes a searing examination of such beloved authors as Louise Erdrich and Sherman Alexie. His conclusion: 'Native American Fiction does not exist.' (The Washington Post Book World)

Treuer asks that novels by Native Americans be afforded their status as literature, not cultural artifacts, an argument bound to impact Native American literature programs. (Library Journal)

His challenge to his readers is to judge Native American writers by the literary quality of their effort, their originality, and the power of their language, not by their origins or by any attempt to discover authenticity. (Magill's Literary Annual)

Product Details

  • File Size: 303 KB
  • Print Length: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Graywolf Press (May 21, 2013)
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00CK52XZ8
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #988,642 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
  •  Would you like to give feedback on images?

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Share your thoughts with other customers
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rethinking Native American "fiction" September 27, 2008
David Treuer, Ojibway academic and literary critic, offers a truly thought-provoking and edgy foundation of work in this book that challenges the critical reader of Native American fiction to closer inquiry and new understandings. Treuer provides commentary that is fresh, engaging, sophisticated, deeply intellectual, and at times laugh out loud hilarious in the true spirit of Indian humor. Treuer examines the work and popular interpretations of Sherman Alexie, Louise Erdrich, Leslie Marmon Silko, and James Welch in a way that sometimes makes the reader do a double take, reflect, process, and then return to Treuer's criticism armed with new insight.

With the rush of college and high school educators to strip bookstore shelves of the most recent Sherman Alexie novel, this book emerges on the horizon of Native American literary criticism at a very crucial time. Although Alexie is loved by all, both Native and non-Native readers, there is a growing concern amongst Native intellectuals regarding the near cultish fascination with Alexie's work, work that is often thematized around poverty, alcoholism, violence, and despair; common themes perpetuating the more widely believed stereotype. Treuer asserts that when it comes to reading Native American fiction, there is no "suspension of belief." Everything that Americans have come to know about Indians is shaped from birth by the media and literature. As a result, we are pre-equipped to interpret what we read through the dominant narrative and its prescribed imagery. Thus, the interpretive emphasis unintentially fixates on the word "Native" rather than "fiction," and when it comes to American Indians, fiction sustains the American reality: the stereotype remains unchanged.
Read more ›
Was this review helpful to you?
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Native America Literatures April 11, 2013
By bmhull
Native American Fiction: A Users Manual is a critical text written by David Treuer where he discusses the use of rhetorical sovereignty and validity of the category of Native American literature. Treuer's purpose is to guide his audience into the maps of their own mind. He directs us to read novels as manifestations of culture and history, as if they are in relation to the present not the past. He asks the reader to take a look inward and identify how it is we read fiction, to identify what our biases and predispositions. But, more particularly, to read Native American literature not with the bias of the "same footprint of automatic thought", rather with a mind and heart that has no preconception to what the author has meant through his/her text.
Treuer investigates a selection of some of the most influential Native American authors such as Sherman Alexie, Forrest Carter, James Fenimore Cooper, Louise Erdrich, Leslie Marmon Silko, and James Welch. He uses both an influence of fictional and scholarly investigation, examines the reader's process of understanding these texts, and also the intentions of the author for the text. For example, he states In the conclusion of his analysis about Love Medicine he states, "Culture, as represented by Ojubwe words, is what the characters want...those words don't communicate anything, rather they dignify something..." (Treuer 65). The simulation of Natives use of language in their text is given the "automatic thought" to be spiritual. Though, Treuer suggests that there is much more occurring here than the past.
Read more ›
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
Search Customer Reviews
Search these reviews only

More About the Author

David Treuer is Ojibwe from the Leech Lake Reservation in northern Minnesota. He grew up on Leech Lake and left to attend Princeton University where he worked with Paul Muldoon, Joanna Scott, and Toni Morrison. He published his first novel, LITTLE, when he was twenty-four. Treuer is the recipient of the Pushcart Prize, and his work has been named an editor's pick by the Washington Post, Time Out, and City Pages. His essays and reviews have appeared in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Esquire,, and The Washington Post.

He also earned his PhD in anthropology and teaches literature and creative writing at The University of Southern California. He divides his time between LA and The Leech Lake Reservation.

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?


There are no discussions about this product yet.
Be the first to discuss this product with the community.
Start a new discussion
First post:
Prompts for sign-in

Look for Similar Items by Category