TRIGGER DANCE by Diane Glancy


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Thirteen stories (some more like prose poems) about contemporary Native American life by a Cherokee poet, winner of the Charles H. and N. Mildred Nilon Excellence in Minority Fiction Award. Glancy's fiction is set mostly where ""the sun roll[s] across the plains & off the edge of Oklahoma like a gutter ball,"" and where young men with the ""old language lodged in their head"" dance traditional dances even ""if their lives were a hole they crawled into."" People caught between white and Indian cultures find meaning in life while calling on the Great Spirit, Jehovah, or Chief Christ. Dialogue is rendered in dialect; Cherokee interjections flavor the text; and Glancy tries to capture a society out of the mainstream with nonstandard punctuation and orthography. Old Roan of the title story maintains Indian religious traditions heavily influenced by apocalyptic Christianity; the scene in the purifying sweat lodge is one of the most powerful in the book. In the comically transcendent ""Aunt Parnetta's Electric Blisters,"" an old woman who hates her refrigerator suddenly identifies with it and has a revelation leading to spiritual renewal. There's some preachy uplift, and many stories are merely conventional: an old woman in a nursing home looking back on life; an illiterate boy sitting in school; a woman in government housing, rough on her kids because she can't make ends meet. Interesting, but one wishes this talented writer had held off publishing until she had a richer collection.

Pub Date: Dec. 15th, 1990
ISBN: 093251135X
Publisher: Fiction Collective Two (Illinois State Univ., Normal, IL 61701)