INTERIOR LANDSCAPES: Autobiographical Myths and Metaphors by Gerald Vizenor

INTERIOR LANDSCAPES: Autobiographical Myths and Metaphors

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Thoughtful and moving memoir of novelist (Griever: An American Monkey King in China; 1987) and poet Vizenor's growing into full awareness of his life as a half-blood--half American Indian, half white. Conceived on a cold night in a kerosene-heated room by a mixed, blooded house-painter and a 17-year-old high-school dropout daughter of a white bartender, Vizenor was born in 1934 in Depression Minneapolis. Two years later, his father was murdered in an alley. His mother took up with a series of men and finally married, only to leave for California alone when Vizenor was 17. In the final year of high school, Vizenor then decided that ""school is dead, graduation is death, and. . .the military is my liberation."" Sent to the Far East, Vizenor discovered writing and grew into touch with his heritage: ""I learned to remember these stories, and to honor impermanence, tribal tricksters on the run, run, run."" Returning to America, he worked at a Salvation Army summer camp, enrolled at the Univ. of Minnesota, worked in a hospital to pay his way, began to publish poetry, and became involved in various American Indian social projects. He now follows the American Indian Movement as a journalist and, because he is not uncritical of it, is subject to much harassment. Currently a contented academic at the Univ. of California, Vizenor is still awed by the implications of bearing the crane totem of his father (""noted as possessing naturally a loud ringing voice. . .the acknowledged orators of the tribe""). An involving remembrance of discovery and reclamation--although some of the American Indian material may prove too arcane for some.

Pub Date: June 1st, 1990
Publisher: Univ. of Minnesota Press