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Cloud Chamber by Michael Dorris
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Cloud Chamber

by Michael Dorris

Series: Rayona

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Married to author, Louise Erdrich, before he committed suicide.
  MarieTea | May 29, 2012 |
I'm reading Cloud Chamber for the 3rd time. What a treat for the soul.
It's not a perfect narrative. There are a few leaps of faith in hurried connections to make the story a whole. BUT despite these little flaws the books is a 5-STAR anyway. It reads like a poem, but a poem that you can not only read in one breath, but one that you can understand and relate to.

All the book reviews always dance around the book's story, trying to give you cliff-notes as their justification of the book's value. That's never the point. And here, the story is completely unimportant. It would have been just as great of a book if it were about two people sitting at a table drining beer and talking. What makes this book beautiful and unforgetable is the language and style of its author. He tells of the most ordinary daily events with an extraordinary depth of percetion. He tells not about what the characters are doing, but what they are feeling when they are doing it, and what life's experiences and hostilities, (life's bagage) arose those feelings in the characters. ( )
  MichaelMalak | Apr 18, 2010 |
Cloud Chamber spans five generations in a series of vignettes from various characters along the way who are part of the family - some blood relatives, some by marriage. The story provides a punctuated family history of Rayona, the main character in Dorris' A Yellow Raft in Blue Water, ending with a story told from her point of view.

The snapshots are well written and paced, engaging and full of interiority - of themselves, they make excellent short stories. However, I think the book fails somewhat in stringing them together attempting to make a cohesive narrative; too many events are not mentioned or are described in passing in a way that makes the reader feel like they were thrown in just so we could know they happened. It's really a story that should have been done in two or three longer books - especially as some of the passions are outsize for a chapter or two.

Despite this, it's enjoyable to read and consider, and fans of Yellow Raft should appreciate the added complexity it brings to that book. ( )
  freddlerabbit | Feb 10, 2010 |
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0684835355, Paperback)

In this broad and ambitious novel, Michael Dorris demonstrates his gift for crafting the distinct voices of characters in varied settings. His story traces the family history of figures from his stunning first novel, A Yellow Raft in Blue Water, which was itself an intergenerational narrative woven from the stories of three Native American women--daughter, mother, and grandmother. Cloud Chamber begins in Ireland, crosses the Atlantic, and heads west from Kentucky to Montana to Washington State, following the generations. Intermarriage creates a diverse mix of family stories and individual identities. The myths about and courageous actions of ancestors emerge as the shaping forces of family legacy. Dorris is daring in the range of his narrative and successful in casting his characters' deep humanity.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:54:45 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

An Irish immigrant family's saga which begins in 19th Century Ireland and ends in present-day Montana. The novel follows the family's fortunes through famine, wars and in love. By the author of A Yellow Raft in Blue.

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