DEATH CHANTS: Short Stories by Craig Kee Strete

DEATH CHANTS: Short Stories

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The ferocity that marked American Indian Strete's previous collection (Dreams That Run in the Night, 1982) has here been replaced by a more thoughtful irony as Strete draws on his heritage to write about Indians, their legends, myths, dreams, sorcerers, hopes, fears, destinies. As per the title, death figures heavily in most of the entries. A Navaho whistle-carver and his strange girl-woman daughter fall backwards in time. A neglected old woman takes revenge upon her dying sorcerer husband. An Indian actor and his failed movie-mogul director, both dying, discover that they are really friends, despite cultural and racial differences. A young psi-gifted Indian is sent to Vietnam to determine whether America can win the war, only to discover another and stranger Vietnam altogether. An ailing sorcerer reflects upon his strange existence, discovering a new world of meaning as he dies. A young man learns from his dying grandfather, who isn't really there, of the fate of Indians in a white man's world. Three Indians on a journey to nowhere argue about which of them is dead. And a blazing buffalo-spirit takes revenge upon heedless white hunters. Sad, almost despairing work, wry and knotty and wise: such tales probably won't appeal to the majority, but Strete's is an original, refreshing, and sobering voice.

Pub Date: April 8th, 1988
Publisher: Doubleday