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Winter Counts: A Novel Kindle Edition
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|Length: 331 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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From the Publisher
- File Size : 1692 KB
- Publication Date : August 25, 2020
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Enhanced Typesetting : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print Length : 331 pages
- Page Numbers Source ISBN : 0062968955
- Publisher : Ecco (August 25, 2020)
- Language: : English
- ASIN : B081ZJP3JG
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #11,150 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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It was a chance well worth it. Winter Counts is an engrossing and explosive novel about justice, love, identity, and redemption. The law in Indian Country works differently than it does in the rest of the country. Questions of justice, by definition, must follow. The protagonist, Virgil Wounded Horse, is the hard hand of unrequited justice. The beauty of Winter Counts is the portrayal of Virgil Wounded Horse's humanity.
I won't ruin the plot or the character arc's by expanding on what others have already written. And no spoilers! I will just say that I will pre-order David Heska Wanbli Weiden's next book.
What did I not like? Absolutely nothing. Beautifully rendered.
and a search for his native heritage. A well written, paced and plotted story with intriguing characters and some solid current and historical information on the conditions that native peoples live with in the USA. No surprise, as with most marginalized groups, they are without the political, financial and educational
resources to improve their lives. And so it goes...
The visceral opening grabbed me and never let go. Don’t pick up this book unless you’ve got a clear calendar for at least 24 hours-you will NOT be able to put it down, or stop thinking about it for even longer.
The bad thing is its slavish adherence to crime-fiction tropes, including one of the hackiest of hack moves in the genre — the convenient sympathy-inducing but somehow super-empowering gunshot wound to the shoulder. There’s no surer sign that an author has written themselves into a corner and can’t find a non-clichéd, non-contrived way out.
The good thing is its rare and authoritative window into the world of American tribal reservation culture and politics. If I'm going to sit through a familiar story, all I ask that it be about an unfamiliar culture and and an unfamiliar setting, and teaches me something new and worth knowing as a result. WINTER COUNTS did that and then some.
Among the takeaways that will stick with me:
— A lot of major crimes go unprosecuted and unpunished on reservations because the white-led federal government has jurisdiction over all felonies there, but often declines prosecution because of a murky combination of institution complacency and complacent racism. As a result, anything bigger than a minor theft or smaller than murder or drug dealing is almost guaranteed to go nowhere in the legal system.
— The above scenario gave rise on the reservations to the use of professional vigilantes, hired by fellow tribe members to exact one form of justice where formal justice has been denied. Virgil Wounded Bear, the hero of WINTER COUNTS, is one such animal, engaged to administer beatings to men who committed crimes like sexual assault or bullying. And learning to live with the fact that despite his necessity, he will be necessarily looked down upon in nominally polite society as a result:
“'Virgil, what do you do?'
"I hated that question. It was such a white way of looking at the world, that a person is judged by their job, not their character."
— While it's well-known that white men have been cheating and betraying Indians as long as the two skin colors have come into contact, it's not as well-known that Indians, even of the same tribe, will screw each other — just as any group of people will — if given enough power and enough lack of oversight. A lot of that is driven by the rampant prejudice within the tribe, between full-blooded Indians and Indians with white or other ethnic blood. A lot of the cruelty is driven by an incestuous sense of overfamiliarity with a tribal individual's abilities, deestinies and familial origins carried along what author David Heska Wanbli Weiden calls "the moccasin internet."
Of particular interest was the subplot about a few members of the tribe in this story trying to wean the others off what the author calls "frybread culture" — basically a complacent fast-food diet that has become so ingrained in tribal society that it's all but impossible to get them to embrace a healthier and more indigenous diet — say, of bison meat and locally grown crops — even when it tastes better.
I enjoyed WINTER COUNTS, at least until its cliché-addled action finale, which was a tad too dependent on suspiciously convenient timing and other tiresome genre contrivances. It deserves much of its flood of critical praise, though I can't help but think it's been overpraised as one of the year's best in a spasm of white guilt in literary circles. It's pretty good with that extra gear I mentioned, but "great"? That may be taking things too far. Great crime novels shoot shoulder wounds in the face.
I really liked the main character, flawed but heroic, especially to his nephew. I liked the supporting characters, I hope to see more of everyone. I can see a new series in my future if I’m lucky😁.
I highly recommend this book.
This above average (plot wise) "Western mystery/thriller" is more interesting than most in this genre because the setting and the main characters are Native Americans who are trapped by (and try to overcome) serious problems endemic to their lives on their Reservation. It is stunning to learn that the FBI often does not prosecute many felony cases on reservations. Thus, the main character, Virgil Wounded Horse, serves as a self-styled "enforcer," serving (or manipulated by) tribal elders. The author pulls no punches describing life on the "Rez," and he puts the reader there with his superb writing style.
My main problem with this book, told in the first person by Virgil, is that I didn't find him that interesting. His female friend Marie was a much better character, but not fully developed. OK, I get that Virgil is an "Anti Hero," but he seems remarkably incompetent. If he were a real life enforcer, he would have gotten himself killed long ago. Also, the story tends to meander at times.
Overall, I recommend this book as a good mystery which will give the reader a perspective about life in an Native American community.