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Bone Game: A Novel (American Indian…

Bone Game: A Novel (American Indian Literature and Critical Studies…

by Louis Owens

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Review: Bone Game by Louis Owens. 05/09/2017

This is the sequel to The Sharpest Sight . The book is well-written, and I could feel Owens insights to real life events that gave the story some realism, The characters were interesting and the story was understandable once I got use to his writing style. The story is woven back and forth from present murders to early Spanish Colonial events. Owens writing style of prose and symbolism imagery was slow at the start but as I read on I had no problem following where his story, past and present, was going. As a murder mystery Owens also enlighten the story with some humor among many visions and dreams.

The main character, Cole McCurtain a professor of Indian studies at Santa Cruz, California College is disturbed by dreams that date back to events with imagery of a Spanish priest who was murdered in 1812. At the present time of 1993 his dreams get worse as dismembered pieces of a woman’s body parts are discovered washing up on the shores of California. As the female students murders become frequent Cole starts drinking a lot of alcohol, eats very little and begins to hate his profession as his life goes nowhere. Cole’s not sure if his dreams and nightmares are related to the Native American past or present history.

His family, friends and even distant Choctaw relatives from Mississippi came to support Cole’s through the demons he felt were haunting him. His dreams were also visited by a black bear and a tall naked man whose body was all white on the left side and all black on the right side, which for some reason he called the mysterious Indian gambler. His Daughter, Abby who lived with her mother, came to stay with him and his transvestite Navajo friend encourage him to confront a myth of a centuries-old evil force that was unleashed by the Spanish missionaries of cruel treatment towards Native Americans.

Owens entwines the past and future together so the reader by now is saying, what does this have to do with the present murders? If I understood this right some of the dreams were real events happening in the present time and some events from the past murders and treatment of Native Americans were his dreams. Cole’s fear was so great that he combing them. The reader is not the confused person, it is Cole McCurtain, the main character who is confused… ( )
  Juan-banjo | May 13, 2017 |
Having read this close upon the heels of Alexie's _Indian Killer_, I couldn't help but compare the two books as I read. Owens's was superior in every respect. More complex characters, more dramatic tension, more interesting exploration of Native American identity in contemporary America. Great book. ( )
  jalbacutler | Jan 10, 2017 |
Interesting mixture of thriller and "literary" novel.

Dense and overwritten at times, as one might expect from a college-professor novelist. And the protagonist is a disillusioned middle-aged English professor who drinks too much and despises his students-- we always need more novels like that, right?

Only this English prof is a Native American, beset with troubling spirit visions. Now that is interesting.

By far the best aspects of the book are the various Native American characters and their adventures and perspectives dwelling in contemporary (circa 1996) America. This is the heart of the novel, and the thriller aspects are connected to it thematically. And yet, the thriller plot line feels layered on, and the thriller resolution feels contrived.

Still, because of its characters, humor, and authentic Native American voice, this one is worth the read. ( )
  JackMassa | Nov 23, 2016 |
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In California, a madman is loose on a college campus, killing and dismembering young girls. Professor Cole McCurtain, an Indian, investigates the crimes and uncovers an evil force born of the cruel treatment of Indians by Spanish missionaries. By the author of The Sharpest Sight.… (more)

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