FIGHTIN' by Simon J. Ortiz


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Ortiz's stories fan out all along the line of contemporary American Indian experience. He can write about middle-class Indians living in trailers and working for Kerr-McGee in New Mexico; about the humiliations of drunkenness (and others' expectations of it); about the blithe insensitivity of anthropologists at a convention. He can also limn the scruffy days-to-days of an Indian narrator/writer with marital/family problems. And, when he chooses, Ortiz can write with a poignant realism (""3 Women"") and with a sharply tuned sense of parable (""Distance""). All too often, however, his writing is curt, unfinished-seeming--delivered in casual, truncated fragments. Frequently, too, these sketches are choked with banal preachiness. (""The brothers said, We will all have to fight before it's too late. They are coming and they want to take our land and our people. We have told them, No, we cannot give our lives away. We will have to defend them and we must do it all together. We must do it, the brothers said. Listen."") In sum: a voice of genuine experience--but rarely given enough time or craft to produce satisfying, involving fiction.

Pub Date: Dec. 30th, 1983
Publisher: Thunder's Mouth--dist. by Persea