THE MAN TO SEND RAIN CLOUDS: Contemporary Stories by American Indians by Kenneth -- Ed. Rosen

THE MAN TO SEND RAIN CLOUDS: Contemporary Stories by American Indians

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KIRKUS REVIEW

As editor Rosen points out in his introduction, until about five years ago and the publication of N. Scott Momaday's House of Dawn, fiction -- by Amerindian writers -- has been a rarity and it is still a seldom thing. These eighteen short stories, graced with simplicity, will not reverse the impression particularly since seven of them are by Leslie Silko, clearly the most gifted writer here, and five by Simon Ortiz (one by each dealing with the killing of a white cop). Silko's title story in which an old Indian dies and the Franciscan priest is asked to sprinkle much holy water so that he could now ""send them big thunder clouds for sure"" is far gentler -- in fact there are several old Indians occasioning gentler stories which intone a still strongly enduring past -- ""How many canyons, how many grandfathers."" That's from Anna Lee Walters (represented three times -- including an excerpt from a novel to appear). But almost all of the pieces are streaked with the long ingrown bitterness one anticipates (e.g., Opal Lee Popke's girl who has learned violence via the ""white ways of white man"") even if they are more modulated both in tone and substance than say Sanchez' recent, more turbid, novel Rabbit Boss In fact most of the stories qua stories reduce to sketches which is not to say that they are either artless or unfinished. Rather moments of experience of a people, the People, warily wise in the ways of two worlds and the nowhere distance between.

Pub Date: Nov. 13th, 1973
Publisher: Viking