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Ceremony: (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition)…
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Ceremony: (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition) (original 1977; edition 2006)

by Leslie Marmon Silko, Larry McMurtry (Introduction)

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2,004293,349 (3.77)69
Member:markwinston
Title:Ceremony: (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition)
Authors:Leslie Marmon Silko
Other authors:Larry McMurtry (Introduction)
Info:Penguin Books (2006), Edition: Anniversary, Paperback, 272 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:None

Work details

Ceremony by Leslie Marmon Silko (1977)

  1. 00
    The Round House by Louise Erdrich (inge87)
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    No-No Boy by John Okada (weener)
    weener: About coming to terms with the aftermath of war.
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    Nickel and Dime by Gary Soto (weener)
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English (28)  Lithuanian (1)  All languages (29)
Showing 1-5 of 28 (next | show all)
Many may feel this book is disturbing, I know my son did. But I cannot help but love the way Silko creates such intense psychological consciousness in her characters. The book was a great one for me. I felt I understood like never before the real plight and sense of loss of the Native American who tries desperately to "fit" into the contemporary and dominant culture, but can never really feel they belong. I can identify with those feelings, and understand the sense of loss in spirit. This was where I first heard the idea of the "hollow" man, then later read T.S. Eliot's poem, "The Hollow Men," and the image of a "hollow man" was impressed upon me, from these two encounters with it: in Silko's book, "Ceremony" and in T.S. Eliot's poem, "The Hollow Men." But reading "Ceremondy" gives such a deeper rendition of what it means to be hollow, as Tayo, the main character learns in Silko's book.

It is a story that stays with you, years after. ( )
  socalnovelist | Jun 26, 2014 |
Many may feel this book is disturbing, I know my son did. But I cannot help but love the way Silko creates such intense psychological consciousness in her characters. The book was a great one for me. I felt I understood like never before the real plight and sense of loss of the Native American who tries desperately to "fit" into the contemporary and dominant culture, but can never really feel they belong. I can identify with those feelings, and understand the sense of loss in spirit. This was where I first heard the idea of the "hollow" man, then later read T.S. Eliot's poem, "The Hollow Men," and the image of a "hollow man" was impressed upon me, from these two encounters with it: in Silko's book, "Ceremony" and in T.S. Eliot's poem, "The Hollow Men." But reading "Ceremondy" gives such a deeper rendition of what it means to be hollow, as Tayo, the main character learns in Silko's book.

It is a story that stays with you, years after. ( )
  socalnovelist | Jun 26, 2014 |
Book Circle Reads 168

Rating: 2* of five

The Publisher Says: Tayo, a young Native American, has been a prisoner of the Japanese during World War II, and the horrors of captivity have almost eroded his will to survive. His return to the Laguna Pueblo reservation only increases his feeling of estrangement and alienation. While other returning soldiers find easy refuge in alcohol and senseless violence, Tayo searches for another kind of comfort and resolution.

Tayo's quest leads him back to the Indian past and its traditions, to beliefs about witchcraft and evil, and to the ancient stories of his people. The search itself becomes a ritual, a curative ceremny that defeats the most virulent of afflictions—despair.

My Review: Pleasant phrase-making in service of mundane plot. It's by no means a bad book, in fact it's a nice enough novel and I am not sorry I read it.

If Leslie Marmon Silko was a Caucasian lady, or worse yet a Caucasian man, this would've been a midlist novel and would today, almost forty years later, be completely forgotten. Rightly so. It's a perfectly nice first novel, it's a story we all like (returning hero is so badly damaged as to be paralyzed emotionally, finds himself by reconnecting to his deep roots and confronting his past), and it's been very very well edited and honed and massaged into shape.

It isn't a classic, sorry to say in the face of so much praise for it over the years, and it's not one bit better than [A Farewell to Arms] (his best book) or [The Naked and the Dead] or [The Yellow Birds] or [Phoenix Rising].

It's a perfectly decent novel. Except, well, except I really don't buy the dialogue, it's poetical speechifyin' and not dialogue. Pretty it is, speech it ain't:
Josiah said that only humans had to endure anything, because only humans resisted what they saw outside themselves. Animals did not resist. But they persisted, because they became part of the wind. (...) So they moved with the snow, became part of the snowstorm which drifted up against the trees and fences. And when they died, frozen solid against a fence, with the snow drifted around their heads? "Ah, Tayo," Josiah said, "the wind convinced them they were the ice.”
Lovely! But that little tag is part of the writing, not a character like Uncle Josiah speaking. He's a stock character with speeches like this, The Wise Old Injun.

Well, anyway, *I* didn't like it that much. I suppose most of my impatience is with the way the novel is venerated. Sheesh.


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. ( )
1 vote richardderus | Apr 18, 2014 |
rabck from eponine38; Fiction, but reads as a true story. Tayo, a young Indian, was a Japanese POW during WWII. Now returning back to the reservation after the war, after being treated as a first class soldier during the war, he's trying to fit back into the second class citizen mould that the Whites who were his peers during the was, force the Indians into. In addition, his cousin Rocky, who the family pinned all there hopes on, was killed in the war, and he feels that he let the family down by him living and Rocky dying. Add battle fatigue (now called PTSD), his friends unable to cope except by getting drunk and rabble rousing, and he's losing himself. With the help of a medicine man, and by steeping himself in the old ways, he finally finds healing. A lovely read with lots of prayers and insights into the Indian spiritual way. This will continue on as a "C" book ring book. ( )
  nancynova | Mar 18, 2014 |
Audiobook....A powerful story about the power of personal and cultural story in preserving and healing the spirit. The structure reflects the dream/nightmare experience of the protagonist, a Native American returning from war. I let myself submerge in the narrative and was pulled along, experiencing a wide range of emotion on the journey. Marvelous read! ( )
  hemlokgang | May 16, 2013 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0140086838, Paperback)

Tayo, a young Native American, has been a prisoner of the Japanese during World War II, and the horrors of captivity have almost eroded his will to survive. His return to the Laguna Pueblo reservation only increases his feeling of estrangement and alienation. While other returning soldiers find easy refuge in alcohol and senseless violence, Tayo searches for another kind of comfort and resolution.

Tayo's quest leads him back to the Indian past and its traditions, to beliefs about witchcraft and evil, and to the ancient stories of his people. The search itself becomes a ritual, a curative ceremny that defeats the most virulent of afflictions—despair.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:23:32 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

This story, set on an Indian reservation just after World War II, concerns the return home of a war-weary Laguna Pueblo young man. Tayo, a young Native American, has been a prisoner of the Japanese during World War II, and the horrors of captivity have almost eroded his will to survive. His return to the Laguna Pueblo reservation only increases his feeling of estrangement and alienation. While other returning soldiers find easy refuge in alcohol and senseless violence, Tayo searches for another kind of comfort and resolution. Tayo's quest leads him back to the Indian past and its traditions, to beliefs about witchcraft and evil, and to the ancient stories of his people. The search itself becomes a ritual, a curative ceremony that defeats the most virulent of afflictions-despair. "Demanding but confident and beautifully written" (Boston Globe), this is the story of a young Native American returning to his reservation after surviving the horrors of captivity as a prisoner of the Japanese during World War II. Drawn to his Indian past and its traditions, his search for comfort and resolution becomes a ritual--a curative ceremony that defeats his despair.… (more)

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