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A Yellow Raft in Blue Water by Michael…
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A Yellow Raft in Blue Water (1987)

by Michael Dorris

Series: Rayona (2)

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1,684326,156 (3.86)1 / 61

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Michael Dorris weaves a moving story of three generations of Native American women, whose lives are complicated and twisted, and whose love for one another is buried beneath misunderstanding and lack of communication. At the outset, we are told the story of Rayona’s life, through Rayona’s eyes. She is the half-Indian, half-black daughter of Christine. Her mother seems dissociative and somewhat cruel, and my reaction was to have no sympathy and very little understanding of a mother who would behave this way. But, even in Rayona’s account there is the hint of trouble between Christine and her mother, Ida, and when we reach book two and see the events through Christine’s eyes we come to understand behavior that seemed so puzzling before. And, finally, we are allowed to hear the background story that is Ida’s life and see the roots of all this dysfunction that haunts the lives of each of these women.

I was drawn into this book immediately and felt there was momentum that pulled me forward right through to the end. All the characters were very realistic and there was enough of mystery surrounding their lives to make you want to unravel the threads of the story for a peek at the past. I particularly liked the secondary characters of Dayton and Lee. They fleshed out the story and gave it a depth it would have lacked without them.

There is a clear picture of life on the reservation, the poverty and problems with alcohol and the unique problems that come from living where the ties are so close and intermingled. Although I have no first hand knowledge of life on a reservation, the novel feels well researched and accurately portrayed. Reading it in the wake of [b:Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI|29496076|Killers of the Flower Moon The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI|David Grann|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1470699853s/29496076.jpg|49782213], a non-fiction account of the Osage Indians, gave me a gauge against which to measure it, and it held up well.

( )
  phantomswife | Jul 6, 2018 |
Starting in the present and moving backward in time, this is the thrice-told tale of three women... 15-year-old part-black Rayona, searching for a way to find herself...her American Indian mother, Christine, consumed by both tenderness and resentment towards the people she loves...and the fierce and mysterious Ida, the mother and grandmother whose haunting secrets, ancient betrayals, and undying dreams echo silently though the years, bonding and braiding together the three strands of their shared past- and their future.
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  cdiemert | Jul 30, 2017 |
This is one of my all-time favorite books. It admirably shows the danger of keeping poisonous family secrets and how the poison dribbles down through the generations to affect all members of the family. Michael Dorris channels the voices of his female characters with great skill. ( )
  Deelightful | May 16, 2017 |
This book was very long. But it had lots of emotional parts, that kind of connects with my life. ( )
  sabrina.zhu | Jan 6, 2017 |
The book is about three characters and their stories from their point of view. the three characters are Rayona who is the daughter of Christine and Christine is the daughter of Aunt Ida.the story gets told from their point of view and as you read the story you slowly unravel the secrets that each character is hold. ( )
  TiffanyKhuu | Jan 6, 2017 |
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For Louise Companion through every page, Through every day Compeer
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I sit on the bed at a crooked angle, one foot on the floor, my hip against the tent of Mom's legs, my elbows on the hospital table.
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Book description
Starting in the present and moving backward in time, this is the thrice-told tale of three women...15-year-old-black Rayona, searching for a way to find herself...her American Indian mother, Christine, consumed by both tenderness and resentment toward the people she loves...and the fierce and mysterious Ida, the mother and grandmother whose haunting secrets, ancient betrayals, and undying dreams echo silently through the years, bonding and braiding together the three strands of their shared past-and their future. (0446387878)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0312421850, Paperback)

Michael Dorris has crafted a fierce saga of three generations of Indian women, beset by hardships and torn by angry secrets, yet inextricably joined by the bonds of kinship. Starting in the present day and moving backward, the novel is told in the voices of the three women: fifteen-year-old part-black Rayona; her American Indian mother, Christine, consumed by tenderness and resentment toward those she loves; and the fierce and mysterious Ida, mother and grandmother whose haunting secrets, betrayals, and dreams echo through the years, braiding together the strands of the shared past.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:29 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Moving backward in time, Dorris's critically acclaimed debut novel is a lyrical saga of three generations of Native American women beset by hardship and torn by angry secrets.

» see all 3 descriptions

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