PAINTED TURTLE: WOMAN WITH GUITAR by Clarence Major

PAINTED TURTLE: WOMAN WITH GUITAR

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KIRKUS REVIEW

After much obscure, self-consciously ""experimental"" fiction, Major published the heartfelt Such Was The Season last year, and now offers a haunting, evocative short novel: the story of a wandering Zuni Indian folk singer. The narrator, Baldwin ""Baldy"" Saiyataca, is a Navajo who has played the electric guitar with bands all over the Southwest, but now arrives in the little town of Cuba, New Mexico, on a different mission; his agent, Peter Inkspan, has sent him to see the Zuni folk singer Painted Turtle, a beautiful and brilliant performer who is also represented by Inkspan. Inkspan wants Baldy to convince Painted Turtle to switch to the electric guitar and commercialize her career. Instead, Baldy falls in love with her and learns her life story: how she was raped as a young girl on the reservation, gave birth to twins, fought her way out of the traditional Zuni life, and has been wandering through towns like Cuba, Limbo, and Bombay ever since, writing her poetic songs and singing to indifferent audiences in loud, tough bars. Baldy and ""the Turtle,"" as he calls her, begin a passionate affair, and when last seen have decided to forsake Inkspan entirely and head off on the road together as a duo. A lyrical story of two Indian artists searching for their roots in modern-day America.

Pub Date: Sept. 2nd, 1988
Publisher: Sun & Moon