A Cockeyed World

Winter in the BloodWinter in the Blood by James Welch
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

James Welch was first published as a poet and I think this prose shows his poetic beginnings

My lure caught a windfall trunk and the brittle nylon snapped. A magpie squawked from deep in the woods on the other side of the river. Pg6

But over all Winter in Blood is a hard book. Severe.

“And I was staring at the sobbing woman with the same lack of emotion, the same curiosity, as though I were watching a bug floating motionless down an irrigation ditch, not yet dead, but having decided upon death.
I slid off her. Everything had gone out of me, and I felt the kind of peace that comes over one when he is alone, when he no longer cares for warmth, and or sunshine, or possesions or even a woman's body, so yielding and powerful.” pg 99

I had a bias going into this story. I think that I thought a book by a Native American writer (I read he didn't care for the term but it is what is said now) would somewhere have an answer for me to the conflicts I see in our modern world.

Am I falling into a vague stereotype about Native America wisdom? Like I might then go on a sweat lodge retreat and contact a sympathetic animal spirit?

Winter in Blood is more a modern novel about a universal sense of separation and alienation written by a native American than primarily a native American novel, ok, maybe, maybe not.

BUT there was some indication of an underlying reply to the western civilization we know. He at least acknowledges what I have felt for a while, that there is something messed up in the world. The clearest statement is when the old, blind yellow Calf about talks with animals and why they are unhappy.

“They are not happy with the way things are. They know what a bad time it is. They can tell by the moon that the world is cockeyed.”

So maybe it does cover some of the territory of Ceremony by Silko, but Ceremony was much more explicit.

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