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I Heard the Owl Call My Name by Margaret…

I Heard the Owl Call My Name (1967)

by Margaret Craven

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1,681286,291 (3.89)68
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Showing 1-5 of 28 (next | show all)
A co-worker's mother was clearing out some of her books and I snapped this one up. I remember reading it long ago and finding it incredibly moving. I found the following review on About.com
Written in the 1960's, this classic reflects that decade's acceptance of the demise of Native American culture. Today, we hope to preserve it. The book is about the clash of cultures, interwoven with the beauty of Native American life within nature's cycles. In spite of its preoccupation with death, the novel celebrates life. An article in the UK publication The Independent (Sept. 25, 1977) stated that Prince Andrew carries this book with him wherever he goes, which demonstrates a measure of the book's universal appeal.

Although Margaret Craven was born and worked in the United States, this book is set in an Indian reserve in British Columbia. ( )
  gypsysmom | Aug 24, 2017 |
Modern classic of Native American life. Amid the grandeur of the remote Pacific Northwest stands Kingcome, a village so ancient that, according to Kwakiutl myth, it was founded by the 2 brothers left on earth after the great flood. The Native Americans who still live there call it Quee, a place of such incredible natural richness that hunting and fishing remain a primary food source.
  jhawn | Jul 31, 2017 |
"She waited as if she had waited all her life, as if she were part of time itself, gently and patiently. Did she remember that in the old days the Indian mother of the Kwakiutl band who lost a child kicked the small body three times and said to it, 'Do not look back. Do not turn your head. Walk straight on. You are going to the land of the owl'?"

I was recommended this book for my Canada project. Although written by an American, the story is set in British Columbia and tells of a young vicar who is sent to live with a native tribe. The reason for this is not much of a spoiler because it is literally written on the first page: The vicar has been sent to this particular post because his superior learned that the vicar was terminally ill and hoped that his experience with the tribe would help him cope.

There is some inconsistency in the story about this because the vicar doesn't know he is ill - so, logically, the plot is not rock solid. However, there is more to the story than the vicar's impending death. Craven explores the conflicts that arise between generations, between civilisations, the impact and dependency if one looses touch with the other.

"On Sunday after church the young people returned to school. Many of the tribe went to the river's edge to see them off in the canoes. And the young people regretted going and wanted to go, and the elders wanted to keep them and were relieved when they went. The little dissent went with them, and the village was at peace."

I Heard the Owl Call My Name is a very gentle book, very unassuming, but the naturalist writing and the simplicity with which the story is told ensures that that the story gets the point across -

"You suffered with them, and now you are theirs, and nothing will be the same again."

This review was first posted on BookLikes. ( )
  BrokenTune | Aug 21, 2016 |
I didn't really get a lot out of this, but I'm sure surprised to see it on the Underrated List. It's famous and widely recommended. It was also, I dunno, spiritual or something, which would not work well for me. (I hope the compilers of this listopia are checking to see if the GR librarians need to combine editions.) ( )
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Jun 6, 2016 |
When I read the reviews that were prertty much sumed up as another book about how indian children abandoned their ancestors' ways and did things like the distrusted white man I didn't expect to like the book.
I'm sure I'm not doing much the same as my British, Scottish and Irish ancestors did. We don't have to, it's called progress.
It took a bit to get in to the rythm of the book but the story behind the vicar's actions was lovely. I would have loved to have known Mark (the vicar). I think this would be a good book for young people if it was a guided group reading. ( )
  GeneHunter | Mar 13, 2016 |
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In the 1960s, young, terminally ill priest Mark Brian is sent to a remote Kwakiutl parish in British Columbia. Sensitive and respectful, he shares in the peoples' hardships and sorrows and earns their trust. He learns that the Indians are "…not simple, or emotional, they are not primitive." He learns, too, that "there was no one truth [of the Indian]…." The Kwakiutl are consistently referred to as "the Indians." The characters are somewhat romanticized, but this is as true for the whites as for the Kwakiutl.
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This book is for the Tsawataineuk Tribe at Kingcome Village, B.C., and for Eric Powell.
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The doctor said to the Bishop, 'So you see, my lord, your young ordinand can live no more than three years and doesn't know it.'
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
A young minister is sent by his bishop deep into the seacoast wilds of British Columbia to a parish of Kwakiutl Indians called Kingcome. The Tsawataineuk live in an inlet village and take their sustenance from the sea and from the forest. The bishop has not told him this, but the priest has only two years left to live.
Among the vanishing Indians, Mark Brian learns enough of the meaning of life not to fear death. Through his faith and humanity, he becomes part of the village, of the Indians themselves, and witness to their rituals and beliefs and the gradual disintegration of a culture.
then, on a cold winter evening, when he hears the owl in the forest call his name, he understands what is going to happen.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0440343690, Mass Market Paperback)

Amid the grandeur of the remote Pacific Northwest stands Kingcome, a village so ancient that, according to Kwakiutl myth, it was founded by the two brothers left on earth after the great flood. The Native Americans who still live there call it Quee, a place of such incredible natural richness that hunting and fishing remain primary food sources.

But the old culture of totems and potlatch is being replaces by a new culture of prefab housing and alcoholism. Kingcome's younger generation is disenchanted and alienated from its heritage. And now, coming upriver is a young vicar, Mark Brian, on a journey of discovery that can teach him—and us—about life, death, and the transforming power of love.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:05 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

A terminally ill Anglican priest and his assignment in a coastal Indian community in British Columbia. The nonfiction story behind this book is told in Again Calls th Owl (1984). Best Books for Young Teen Readers. A young minister who has two years to live learns about the meaning of life when he is sent to an Indian parish in British Columbia.… (more)

» see all 3 descriptions

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