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Bearheart: The Heirship Chronicles by Gerald…

Bearheart: The Heirship Chronicles

by Gerald Vizenor

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Though probably not like anything you have ever read before, this doesn't quite live up to Vizenor's later novels. Being his first work of long fiction it seemed he had yet to perfect his methodologies. His signature truncated syntax is not on display so his word light fails to glow as bright as it could. He also comes dangerously close to betraying his own ideology: all the whites are bad, all the Natives are victims in one way or another, and the stone-faced, quiet, wise, "Proude," can-do-no-wrong "main character" (if there is such a thing in a work as deconstructed as this) comes dangerously comes to a stereotype Vizenor is feverishly trying to explode. I have a feeling other people said same thing to St. Gerald upon Bearheart's initial publication. He listened and made sure he never made the same mistakes again.These minor criticisms aside, if you are looking for a dystopian, surrealist, myth-o-mare across a gasolineless 28 Days Later America (penned thirty years before McCarthy decided to write The Road)look no further. I'm not ashamed to say I don't comprehend everything that occurs symbolically or otherwise in this book. I do have an intuition all the characters are manifestations of Rosina and Proude, all different aspects of their experience during one year. It's the cycle of the seasons, but also an east to west journey of the sun. The pinnacle is at What Cheer via the show down with Cecil Staples. Before this the number of pilgrims is growing and the chance events fortuitous. After this incident, the number of pilgrims decreases usually via violent death. Time begins to go backwards. We start where we begin: the morning in the light of Sister Eternal Flame with the bears ha ha haaaaaaing in the four directions.Reminded me a lot of Dhalgren actually. ( )
  librarianbryan | Apr 20, 2012 |
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