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Solar Storms Paperback – February 26, 1997


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In her luminous, quietly compelling second novel, Hogan, a Chickasaw poet and writer (whose first novel, Mean Spirit, was a finalist for the Pulitzer), ties a young woman's coming-of-age to the fate of the natural world she comes to inhabit. Angela Jensen, a troubled 17-year-old, narrates the tale of her return to Adam's Rib, an island town in the boundary waters between Minnesota and Canada. Tucked into a pristine landscape of countless islands, wild animals and desperately harsh winters, it's her Native American family's homeland. As a child, Angela was abandoned by her mother, Hannah Wing, but not before Hannah had permanently scarred half of Angela's face; earlier, Hannah herself had been separated from her family and unspeakably abused. In Adam's Rib, Angela is reunited with her great-grandmother, Agnes Iron, and Agnes's mother, Dora-Rouge; she also spends a winter with Bush, a solitary woman who briefly raised her and, years earlier and also briefly, raised Hannah. Just as Angela discovers through her family's elemental way of life her own blood ties to the land, the threat of a huge hydroelectric dam project ruins her idyll. The four women?Angela, Agnes, Dora-Rouge and Bush?embark on a dangerous journey far northward to visit the homeland, where Hannah Wing is known to live. Hogan's finely tuned descriptions of the land and its spiritual significance draw a parallel between the ravages suffered by the environment and those suffered by Angela's mother. And, as the land is transformed, so are the lives of the characters, often in deeply resonant ways.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Chickasaw novelist and poet Hogan has numerous books to her credit, including the award-winning Mean Spirit (LJ 11/1/90). She has certainly influenced newcomers W.S. Penn (The Absence of Angels, LJ 1/94) and Betty Louise Bell (Faces in the Moon, LJ 3/1/94). Rich in spirituality, language, landscape, emotion, myth, and healing, this new work unfolds to reveal four Native American women intent on saving sacred areas from the construction of a hydroelectric dam. The central quest belongs to Angela, a young woman seeking to explain her mother's history of child abuse. While answers elude her, like precious medicinal plants quickly inundated, Angela still discovers herself and her heritage. Sadly, the most dangerous creatures the women encounter in the remote lands near Canada are other humans. Recommended for most collections.?Faye A. Chadwell, Univ. of Oregon, Eugene
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner; Reprint edition (February 26, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684825392
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684825397
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #352,115 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

A Chickasaw mustang and a wild burro live with me. We are three sisters.

I am fortunate enough to have had funding from The Lannan Foundation, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and was one of three finalists for a Pulitzer when John Updike received it. It was my first novel, MEAN SPIRIT. My other books have all received awards or nominations. PEOPLE OF THE WHALE has been very popular in Taiwan and China, POWER is for both adult and younger audiences. SOLAR STORMS included both the James Bay HydroQuebec project and the subject of adoption in Indian communities. Traveling the world comes with this unexpected life as a writer, from a childhood of depression which lacked privilege enough to go to school. I did, however, become a Professor in Creative Writing and Native Studies. I am now giving readings, lectures, workshops, and just finished a new novel, and loving the unique Chickasaw pony, rare in this world as beautiful poetry.

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Review excerpts

REVIEWS:
CLEAVER Magazine Issue #6

DARK. SWEET.: NEW & SELECTED POEMS
by Linda Hogan 
Coffee House Press, 421 pages
reviewed by Amanda Hickok
Opening Linda Hogan's Dark. Sweet. is like coming upon the entrance to a dark cave and striking a match to find the interior covered in Paleolithic paintings. Her imagery is primordial--simple, direct representations of the natural world that recur throughout her poetry to tell and retell the history and oral stories of the Chickasaw, her own personal history, and her concerns for the present. The same images are reused and recast with each poem, accumulating new layers of meaning as her writing progresses from the late '70s to the present day. The reader is steeped in her distinct personal symbology--a poetic world bursting with animal and plant life, ubiquitous water and sky, fragmented bodies, houses, and cities, and glimpses of tribal communities against the antithetical contemporary American society.
Also like entering a Paleolithic cave, reading Hogan's poetry is like uncovering a record of a lost world--a world that exists in the memory of the poet, in her personal and cultural history, but also in the cultural history of America and the dark recesses of our collective unconscious. It is a faded and fragmented record the past, the fossilized shell from which our contemporary society has emerged but can neither recover nor completely shed. Hogan's poetry, though heavily tinged with the despondency of loss, resists the complete annihilation of this continually threatened world in the desire to recover and retain its stories--to keep it alive, if only in the mind, through the preservation of memories. Her poetry attempts to preserve a sense of identity or community when the physical space of those formative places and experiences has been stolen or destroyed and the memories have become increasingly distant.....

This is a poet deeply in love with humanity and the natural world, who projects a hopeful vision of the future--one in which our capacity for empathy and compassion will be recovered, in which we will overcome our fragmented associations with humanity and the world around us in which people and land are merely a means to an end, either useful or disposable in the accumulation of wealth and power. Hogan's poetry is hopeful that by reconnecting with the whole body, the whole person, the whole earth, it is possible to overcome the pain of homelessness--to become, perhaps, like the turtle. She asks, in the final poem:
How far do we have to go, how far is it
to the holy springs, the first water,
the first bone of our creation,
to compassion for all in that beginning
human marrow?
In our present society--wrought with the alienating affects of capitalism, urbanization, gentrification, and environmental degradation--this is not a question to take lightly.


review from Woman Who Watches
Publishers Weekly
Forecast: Deep and full of grace, Hogan's writing is every bit as good as ever. Anyone who knows anything about Native American writing will rush
Publishers Weekly:

Novelist (Mean Spirit) and poet (Seeing Through the Sun) Hogan branches into nonfiction with this slender volume of meditations on the natural world. She successfully couples a poet's appreciation of phrasing and rhythm with Native American sensibilities and stories. Throughout, Hogan exquisitely examines both natural and internal landscapes. She writes beautifully about animals without anthropomorphizing them and, in so doing, explores what it means to be human. Herself a Chickasaw, Hogan is able to bring a diverse cultural perspective to her analysis of how people relate to nature. She concludes, ``We must wonder what of value can ever be spoken from lives that are lived outside of life, without a love or respect for the land and other lives.'' Although 11 of the 16 essays have been previously published, they come together to form an invigorating whole. Author tour. (Aug.)
Book Review
By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat


Power
Linda Hogan
W. W. Norton 08/98 Hardcover $23.00
ISBN: 0-393-04636-2


In her third novel, Linda Hogan honors mystery as a sacred force in the lives of Native Americans. The narrator of this lyrical and enthralling work is Omishto, a sixteen-year-old member of the dwindling Taiga tribe in the Florida wilderness. Although she lives with her Americanized mother, stepfather, and sister, this sensitive and strong-willed young girl spends most of her time with Aunt Ama, a fearless outsider who lives in the woods and is in constant touch with the spirit world.
Omishto is with her during a hurricane that sends deer flying and uproots a five-hundred-year-old tree. Then Aunt Ama in a trance-like state leads her through the woods where she kills a panther, her animal ally and the tribe's sacred ancestor. Omishto, who watches everything and sees deeply into what is going on around her, knows nothing will ever be the same again.
Ama is put on trial for killing an endangered Florida animal and also faces the elders who believe she has broken tribal law. Realizing that she will never see her beloved mentor again, Omishto exiles herself from the white world. She wrestles with Ama's legacy and gives herself to the mystery of the natural world. Linda Hogan's Power presents an incredibly convincing and moving portrait of Native American spirituality.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________


I worked for the Chickasaw Nation, my own people, writing a booklet on our maps, two performance pieces, visiting and teaching classes, doing historical research and seeing our ancient bodies returned to this earth i love and about which I write.
I love to write poetry, essays, and novels, and also the magical experience of teaching others to do the same. My work is strong on environment and traditional ecosystem knowledge. I am fortunate enough to have had funding from The Lannan Foundation, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and was one of three finalists for a Pulitzer when John Updike received it. It was my first novel, MEAN SPIRIT. My other books have all received awards or nominations. PEOPLE OF THE WHALE is most popular in Taiwan, POWER is for adult and younger audiences, as well. SOLAR STORMS included both the James Bay HydroQuebec project and the subject of adoption in Indian communities. Traveling the world comes with this unexpected life as a writer, from a childhood of depression which lacked privilege enough to go to school. I did, however, become a Professor in Creative Writing and Native Studies. I am now giving readings, lectures, workshops writing a new novel, and loving the unique Chickasaw pony, rare in this world as beautiful poetry. I worked for the Chickasaw Nation, my own people, writing a booklet on our maps, two performance pieces, visiting and teaching classes, doing historical research and seeing our ancient bodies returned to this earth i love and about which I write.

The new book, DARK. SWEET. is receiving favorable so far. Thank you, everyone.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Lisa Blum on May 12, 2000
Format: Paperback
One thing I like about book clubs is that they force people to read books they might not have otherwise read. When my book club chose Solar Storms, I was not overly enthusiastic. However, Hogan's writing captured me from the first page. I could feel the cold of the frozen Great Lakes, smell the stuffiness of hut, taste the native dishes, agonize with the family's loss. Then, when Angel returns to her grandmothers' home and begins her healing process, I could feel the story line start to vibrate in me like violin strings.
Like some of America's greatest prose, the content of this book was not as important to me as the style, although I thought the storyline was thought-provoking. No one memorizes Lincoln's Gettysburg Address because of the message. They memorize it because it is such a beautiful example of what our language can sound like in the hands of a master. Hogan is a master.
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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful By James Stripes on October 20, 2000
Format: Paperback
_Solar Storms_ is a powerful novel that should appeal to anyone concerned with issues relating to the environment, Indians, community activism, abuse, feminism, or cultural politics. Its fine writing offers even stronger drawing power.
The story is set 1972-1974 within a Native community threatened with destruction by the kind of economic development that marginalizes and exploits the north country to benefit other communities in the south. It is told from the point of view of one of the central characters. Angel is 17 when she returns home, trying to get a sense of her past and the origin of the scars that disfigure her face. Her quest for identity and information quickly broadens into larger, and more substantial concerns for the people of Adam's Rib. As she finds her place there, she gains perspective leading to commitments that reveal her developing inner strength. She learns that her individual identity finds its best expression in terms of her relationships within a community that encompasses other people, land and water, and all life.
Through the development of Angel's perspective, and the ideas and actions of the women who become her mentors, author Linda Hogan puts forth an astoundingly powerful vision of the relationships among humans and the natural world that sustain life. She does this with a richly detailed text that even readers who may not share Hogan's perspective will find the book enjoyable and provocative.
Hogan's _Solar Storms_ offers a reminder that the best stories are critical to human life not only for the pleasure of the text, but because they motivate ethical life. _Solar Storms_ merits recognition as a modern classic of American literature.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Margaret T. Moulton (mtmoulton@celestat.com) on October 12, 1999
Format: Paperback
I marvel at the intricate and deeply authentic way in which Linda Hogan exposes the emotional center of her characters... as well as the manner in which she reveals how they experience their external environment... with its vast riches of light and life and shifting storms... of turning seasons, of companies of birds and fish... of forests and water... all as an aspect of what is occurring in their inner lives. They seem to breathe in the land, to drink of the rich wellspring of fullness and diversity present in 'all their relations...' and to sense with clear awareness and slow contemplative abosrption the re-rooting of the natural world within their own souls. The "potlatch" which served as the story's prologue is one of the most poignant pieces of literary excellence I have ever read.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By J. Lugo on August 9, 1997
Format: Paperback
I thought I could not read anything as beautiful by a Native American woman than Luci Tapahonso's works, or Joy Harjo's works. Until now. Linda Hogan's words evoke powerful images of female beauty. She overturns European myths and traditions by making all her major characters women. These are no "shrinking violets" but women who make it on their own; they are not simply biding their time until some man comes along, but they are active in the business of living life. This is no man-hating treatise either, for men are welcome, if they fit in. Some do, some don't, and some learn that loving a woman means being everything she needs you to be, not just what you think she needs. Hogan also turns physical scarring into beauty, as Angel learns to love herself despite her inner and outward scars. Hogan even takes the most commonplace of anti-feminine insults, "That's just like a woman," and turns it into an expression of strength. Yes, it IS just like a woman, and that's what makes her powerful, beautiful and desirable to all. Read SOLAR STORMS and learn a lot, about yourself as a woman or a man, about yourself as a Western "improver" of nature, and about yourself as a human being. Love for everything and everyone is the secret joy in this novel, and you will finish it with a sense that you have achieved something of this
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 27, 1999
Format: Paperback
This is the first book I have read by Hogan. I was very impressed by her writing. She uses lovely words and creates wonderful images for the reader. This is a very important book and having read it has increased by awareness of Native Americans' plight. The damage to their culture, their personhood and to the earth (the land)with all the animals and plants is painful and horrid. This is a deeply felt book and the writing will speak to your heart.
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