This emotionally raw man throws himself literally into the wild to be tested culturally, socially, and physically during this gritty and sometimes exhaustive book...the writing has some sort of hypnotic authority when diving into the continued prejudice in our education system. Sean...challenges his physical education classes...opens up the basketball team for anyone...catty teachers are more interested in personal agendas and petty rivalries. It's heartbreaking that not every educator is trying as hard as this fictional character to make a difference.
Despite at first being opposed to an overly-slow pace, I began to adapt to the casual dialogue and sweeping descriptions as the actual writing became a physical piece of the Navajo Nation landscape. For anyone intrigued by novels of clashing cultures or even survival stories, this would definitely be one to invest in.
- A. Nickell, Chicago Literati
Reading about the teaching profession often comes in the form of technical jargon that only the academics like to read. In the case of Terry Lloyd Winetsky's Belagana, Belazana: An Outsider's Quest in the Navajo Nation the reader can expect more human interaction versus explanation of teaching methods.
The Yakima author's story is about a white man hired as a teacher and counselor at a Navajo Reservation school. The main character, Sean, discovers quickly his students don't trust him any more than his co-workers do. In Winetsky's hands, the school and the Arizona landscape all become characters in the story of adventure, cultural dysfunction and near tragedy in a closed society. It's a combination that captivates the reader.
This is the fourth book in Winetsky's American Teachers Series, which features Grey Pine, Maria Juana's Gift, and Happy Ranch to Watts.
His story of life in a reservation school is partly based on the years he spent teaching in Arizona, giving the book its authentic feel.
- Julia Hart, Daily Sun News