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"But the distance I felt came not from country or people; it came from within me. I was as distant from myself as a hawk from the moon."


Published in 1974, James Welch's Winter in the Blood is considered a classic in the cannon of Native American literature. The then contemporary story follows an unnamed protagonist as he sets out to find the woman who took his electric razor and gun. Set on the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation and neighboring towns in the Hi-Line of Montana, his journey takes him to a series of dive bars and sleazy hotels as he encounters a number of characters that only add to his mishaps. But is the gun and electric razor really what the narrator is looking for or is there something more?

Welch's novel is more than a series of drunken escapades and one-night stands as the narrator combines childhood flashbacks with current affairs. He is frequently haunted by the memories of a childhood accident that killed his older brother as well as recurring thoughts of his father freezing to death in a irrigation ditch on his way home from a bar. It is through the company of a blind elder and the stories of the past that the protagonist may finally begin to see himself.

While it may be easy to get caught up in the beauty of the poetic prose, the rich description of setting and landscape, and the meaningful themes of modern culture versus cultural heritage, Winter in the Blood is a story that will stick with you long after you finish it; check it out today!

Hayley @ Central

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This page contains a single entry by Jacki published on November 30, 2013 8:42 AM.

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