SWEET MEDICINE by David Seals

SWEET MEDICINE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

 A wild and woolly sequel to the equally extravagant The Powwow Highway (1990--not reviewed), in which rambunctious American Indians manage to hoodwink, confound, and otherwise outclass the armies of white lawmen sent out to round them up, getting back to their spiritual and tribal roots in the process. Narration is provided by Storyteller, a cross between a native Trickster and literary huckster, who makes no apologies for his occasional digressions to comment on plot strategy or for turning the final showdown into a brazen bit of legerdemain. His infrequent presence, however, allows Seals to concentrate on two pivotal figures from the earlier novel, Philbert and Bonnie, Northern Cheyenne who are on the run for having broken her out of jail in Santa Fe. Sheltered by a friendly Pueblo community, they discover an attraction for each other that takes days in bed to explore fully, but eventually the long arm of the law forces them to run. On horseback and in a convoy of aging Indian vans full of elders and kids, they reach sacred ground along the Rio Grande, but not before Bonnie is nearly killed in an encounter with a witch. She recovers with Philbert's help, through a spiritual awakening that transforms him into a chief and her into a medicine woman. Now leaders of a renegade band to Bear Butte in South Dakota, they set out against all odds, evading police cordons and crossing the Rockies on horseback, and stopping at Indian massacre sites along the way. Having overcome inner doubts and outer temptations, Philbert and Bonnie top a final rise only to find the US military in full battle array between them and their destination. A lively and sardonic look at native realities in America today, coupled with fights of wit and whimsical fancy that ring equally true: a potent, thoroughly enjoyable tale.

Pub Date: Oct. 14th, 1992
ISBN: 0-517-58801-3
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Crown
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 1992