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Silko, Leslie Marmon

reservation war novel tayo

(US, 1948– )

Born of mixed ancestry—Laguna Pueblo, Mexican, and white—Silko grew up in the Laguna Pueblo Reservation near Albuquerque, New Mexico. Her novels and poetry record the history of European imperialism from a Native American perspective, examining unflinchingly the devastation of indigenous populations and the natural environment that resulted from America's Manifest Destiny. Set during the boom years following the Second World War, Silko's first novel, Ceremony (1977), tells the story of Tayo, who returns from war to the reservation suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. After failing to benefit from treatment in the white hospital, Tayo undertakes the ceremony prescribed by a local medicine man, a ritual cure that involves a deep engagement with the storytelling tradition of his people. Storyteller (1981) collects these same Laguna stories in both fiction and poetry. Almanac of the Dead (1991) is a complex, darkly millennial novel that foresees the worldwide uprising of indigenous peoples to overthrow their conquerors.

Louise Erdrich, N. Scott Momaday, Bessie Head  GH

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