THE NAMES: A Memoir by N. Scott Momaday

THE NAMES: A Memoir

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KIRKUS REVIEW

I have seen Grendel's shadow on the walls of Canyon de Chelly, and. . . Copper-field at Oljeto's Trading Post."" Momaday's recollections of his Kiowa childhood in the Southwest are a supple blend of memory and poetry, a stream of images in a lyrical, rambling narrative. The son of Indian teachers who insisted he speak English, he had less to learn at school generally, more to learn from the other children and his extended family about his heritage. ""There is a quality to the experience of any given place that is especially available to a child"" and he captures those perceptions exquisitely, whether describing the ""low amber brilliance"" of a room or the ""slow summer motion of the air."" Of a friend who loved to sing ""Onward, Christian Soldiers"": ""he squeezed himself into a terrible concentration"" looking like ""a cherub gone slightly to seed."" On the difficulties of reconstructing those times: ""I place my feet in the plain, but my prints are made on the mountain."" Momaday received the 1968 Pulitzer Prize for House Made of Dawn; this has that same distinctive stamp--the meandering, graceful prose and rich imaginings--set in a landscape of chinaberry trees and bristlecones.

Pub Date: Dec. 1st, 1976
Publisher: Harper & Row