Holman (Secret City, U.S.A., 1990, etc.) weaves a terrific story about the nature of reality, honoring the past, and the experience of loss, set in the California of 1932. Colly's mother died in a car accident the year before; his father is a movie stuntman, and everything Colly knows he learned from the movies and from being on the set. When his dad is injured in a stunt, they go to stay in an adobe house in the desert to heal, where Colly meets Benjamin Grey Fox, a retired professor, and his nephew, Ozro, who aren't at all like ""Hollywood Indians."" Set in italics and alternating with Colly's story is one of a Cahuilla boy, Sparrow, and his grandmother, who see white settlers approaching in 1774. Colly's movie view of the past and Sparrow's history intersect in dreams, in talismans, in animal spirits. How Colly lays both his sorrow and Sparrow's to rest is told in language that dips and soars like the flight of an eagle, carrying readers along with their need to know what happens. While Holman occasionally preaches about the legitimate rights of the First Nations, the bits of movie lore, gorgeous desert descriptions, and deeply moving final scenes amply compensate.