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The Hiawatha: A Novel Paperback – June 3, 2000
The Daughter of Union County
To save his heritage, he hides his daughter’s true identity—but he can’t protect her forever. Learn More
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Simon, Betty's oldest child, seems doomed to misfortune, frustration, and resentment. After witnessing his father's accidental death, he feels obligated to act as family savior and protector, especially once they move to the city. His best intentions aren't enough, however, and the family eventually unravels, their devastation complete after Simon's almost inexplicable, alcohol-fueled murder of his brother. Much of the novel traces the aftermath, as Simon and Betty attempt a delicate healing, their lives muddled with both affection and remorse.
Treuer is at his best when penetrating the silent emotions of confused souls and the failed promises of human hearts. And although his observations tend to be cynical and overly broad, somewhat falsely self-assured, his knowledge of the worlds of both city and reservation is remarkably precise. In a book that can be unnecessarily gruff, Treuer exposes plainly not only the persistence of tragedy, but also the tenacity of family love. --Ben Guterson --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
The realism of the writing does not take away from the wonderful storytelling in this novel. Treuer's choice--fratricide--is gutsy and engaging, and his characters are believable and decent.
Death pervades the book; the deaths of Simon's father, his brother, even that of a goose force the reader to see how close to death of us live all the time. Even Simon's job is brutally dangerous. Even though death is everywhere, Treuer's writing is brilliantly alive: his descriptions defy any characterization that I could try to use for them--they are just that good, from the beginning of the book to the end.
Perhaps the moving interesting and moving character for me is Betty, Simon's mother. Her love for the people around her is so hopeless and deep that my heart clenches even now to think of her with a dead husband, one son dead, and another a murderer. The quintessential survivor, she works, scrapes by, and tolerates a scumbag landlord for the sake of children she knows have very little chance in the world. But she gives them what chances she can, by hook or by crook, via the bridge of her back. No wonder she habitually rebuffs the tender affections of a decent man.
I am afraid I haven't done justice to this book; it is a terrific novel by a true talent. The other book of his that I have read, _Little_, is another emotionally evocative work that I cannot recommend highly enough.
his is a still rivering, so generously poured~