HOUSE MADE OF DAWN by N. Scott Momaday


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To call this first novel ""strongly lyrical"" and ""evocative,"" as the publishers do, though the description is an accurate one, may be to give it the kiss of death. We are probably more willing to admire this kind of ""fine"" naturalist writing (by a young American Indian, a poet and a scholar) than to really enjoy it. It is doubtless this part of the novel, however, including a section on eagle trapping and bear hunting, which drew praise from Yvor Winters as ""one of the great short pieces of prose in English."" The general theme of the book is the disintegration of a young ""longhair"" Indian named Abel who is unwilling and unable to adapt himself to the white man's 'notions of ""civilization."" Momaday's writing, when dealing not only with natural phenomena but with characters, is detailed and explicit (this includes the young man's sexual encounters) and one's sympathies are aroused in a general way but we remain, finally, uninvolved in his tragedy.

Pub Date: June 5th, 1968
ISBN: 0072434201
Publisher: Harper & Row