LONG RIVER by Joseph Bruchac

LONG RIVER

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A veritable factory of folk tales, author of more than 60 titles, continues his pre-Columbian history of the American Northeast. When last visited, Young Hunterancient hero of the Abenaki ("Only People"), a prehistoric Indian tribe introduced in Bruchac's Dawn Land (1993)had completed a quest to visit the Ancient Ones and save his people from disaster. Then he was only a boy; now, two years later, he has his majority and once again is burdened with a fatal task. He is also married and more fully empowered with higher mystical gifts than before, but Young Hunter is still fundamentally naive, relying on the wisdom of mysterious women, dreams, and the interpretation of natural signs. In this adventure, evil forest beings are threatening the Ancient Ones, thereby threatening the "Only People" as well. Young Hunter thus embarks again on a quest-like mission where the natural and supernatural are often hard to distinguish from one another. Bruchac flavors the story heavily with manufactured folklore, using names sometimes hard to remember through their veering either to the lyrical extreme or, conversely, the concrete (e.g., Blue Hawk, Angry Face), while descriptions are sometimes so abstract as to puzzle readers who wanting to know what, precisely, is going on. Annoyingly short chapters, meanwhile, create an episodic and sometimes tedious pacenot helped by a narrative tone that relies heavily on metaphor and assiduously avoids contractions, apparently in the belief that this is, somehow, how Indians think and talk. Bruchac seems to be caught between the creation of myth and the telling of a good story, aims sometimes complementary but sometimes not. Here, the attempt is often strained, resulting in a tale more than adequately told but far from inspiring.
Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1995
ISBN: 1-55591-213-3
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Fulcrum
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15th, 1995




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