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Reckonings: Contemporary Short Fiction by Native American Women 1st Edition

4.8 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0195109252
ISBN-10: 0195109252
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author


Hertha D. Sweet Wong is Associate Professor of English at the University of California, Berkeley. She is the author of Sending My Heart Back Across the Years: Tradition and Innovation in Native American Autobiography; editor of Louise Erdrich's Love Medicine: A Casebook; and co-editor with John Elder of Family of Earth and Sky: Indigenous Tales of Nature from Around the World.
Jana Sequoya Magdaleno lives in Northern California where her focus is on Native community health and healing practices.
Lauren Stuart Muller teaches at City College of San Francisco, where she chairs the Interdisciplinary Studies Department. She is the editor of June Jordan's Poetry for the People: A Revolutionary Blueprint.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 344 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (March 11, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195109252
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195109252
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 0.9 x 6.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,043,862 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
If you have not yet sampled Native American Lit, I strongly recommend it, and Reckonings, Contemporary Short Fiction by Native American Women is a great place to start.

The term Native American, of course, comprises many different nations with their diverse cultures. Not all American Indians grow up on rural reservations. Many live in urban settings. Some maintain strong connections with their native culture, some don't, and some rediscover their cultures later in life. So why even break out Native American writing for classification? Because, in general, most Native American writers share two things in common. They straddle two worlds, and they come from a story-telling tradition that reveres elders who pass those stories down through generations. Both of these aspects lend a richness and depth that this reviewer, at least, sometimes finds lacking in contemporary mainstream and literary fiction.

Some of the authors included here, like Louise Erdrich and Leslie Marmon Silko, have reached a wider audience. Two of Erdrich's stories are actually excerpts from her popular novel The Antelope Wife. Others, like Paula Gunn Allen (deceased since my original reading of this collection) and Joy Harjo, are sometimes read in American Lit classes. Still others coming from various parts of the U.S. and Canada were as unfamiliar to me as they will be to readers coming to NA Lit for the first time.

Readers do not need an in-depth knowledge of Native American culture and history to appreciate these stories or Native American Lit in general, but it helps to know something beyond "the Europeans came and took the Indians' land.
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Format: Paperback
Understanding the role and history of the anthology genre in the publishing of Native American literature is key to appreciating this new collection of previously-published short fiction, mostly by established writers. Familiar names such as Paula Gunn Allen, Linda Hogan, Leslie Marmon Silko, Joy Harjo and Louise Erdrich dominate the collection (the list of 15 authors contains only two under the age of 50). That it is unquestionably an academic product is obvious, but a mixed blessing to be sure.

The excerpts from Linda Hogan's novels (Power, W.W. Norton & Company, 1998 and Solar Storms, Simon & Schuster, 1995) are a breath of literary fresh air in this uneven collection and should urge any reader first stumbling on her work to get thee to a library or local bookstore immediately for the full immersion experience.

And Janet Campbell Hale's long piece, "Claire" (Women on the Run, University of Idaho Press, 1999) , the delicate portrayal of an elderly woman who escapes the "old people's home" she says she is an "inmate" of by borrowing the clothes of a male resident and sneaking out a window to a life of freedom, beautifully combines graceful writing with cultural exploration; no polemic needed to make a point in this powerful piece, that's clear.

But familiar excerpts from Leslie Marmon Silko's primary body of work (Almanac of the Dead, Simon & Schuster, 1991 and Storyteller, Seaver Book, 1981) pay homage to this grandmother of the genre yet leave one, in 2008, aching for something new.

Assembled by an Associate Professor of English at the University of California, Berkeley (Hertha D.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
These are raw, moving, incisive, insightful, words that sear, move, teach, and bestow insight. For all Indians and First Nations people, including mixed bloods and metis, and most especially women, who will both understand and have buried understandings brought to the surface. Wopila! Mitakuyasin.
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By Mace on January 9, 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Good. Needed it for a class.
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