November is Native American Heritage Month, a time designated to honor the histories, cultures, and contributions – historical and ongoing – of American Indians and Alaska Natives. You can check out a booklist of novels by Native American authors published in the past five years in our catalog. Highlighted here are three outstanding novels from 2018.
Where the Dead Sit Talking by Brandon Hobson is narrated by Sequoyah as he looks back on 1989, the year he was 15. That year, after his mother is sent to jail on a drug charge, Sequoyah finds himself in foster care with the Troutts, alongside another Native American foster kid, Rosemary. He reflects back on his friendship with Rosemary, the strangeness of that time, and the way it contributed to who he became. A masterful coming-of-age novel. Shortlisted for the National Book Award.
There There by Tommy Orange is a kaleidoscopic debut novel that follows 12 Native Americans as they prepare for the first Big Oakland Powwow. Kicking off with a virtuosic overview of Native Americans in the US since the arrival of white colonists, the story settles into the personal stories of the twelve individual characters. From a teenage boy’s first efforts at fancy dancing, to the committee members planning the event, to a plot to rob the powwow, Orange brings them all vividly to life while also weaving in ruminations on what it means to be a City Indian, the nature of identity, living with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and much more. Longlisted for the National Book Award.
Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse takes place in a near-future apocalypse after a flood has wiped out much of Earth’s lowlands. Protected by their high altitude location and by a wall that entirely encircles them, the Navajo Nation has survived largely unscathed, although the gods and monsters of legend now walk the land. Maggie Hoskie, drawing upon her clan powers, is a monster-slayer who begins to work with an unconventional medicine man when dark witchcraft comes calling.
~ posted by Andrea G.