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Red Weather

A Novel by Janet McAdams

Publication Year: 2012

This trip wasn’t about her, her need to escape. She had been too young when it happened. Too young to understand what could be worth risking everything for. Even now they seemed naïve, foolish in their belief that anything could change. They had tried to save a generation. If she couldn’t save them, she might find a way to finish their story.
Neva Greene is seeking answers.
The daughter of American Indian activists, Neva hasn’t seen or heard from her parents since they vanished a decade earlier, after planning an act of resistance that went terribly wrong. Discovering a long-overlooked clue to their disappearance, Neva follows their trail to Central America, leaving behind an uncaring husband, an estranged brother, and a life of lukewarm commitments.
Determined to solve the mystery of her parents’ disappearance, Neva finds work teaching English in the capital city of tiny Coatepeque, a country torn by its government’s escalating war on its Indigenous population. As the violence and political unrest grow around her, Neva meets a man whose tenderness toward her seems to contradict his shadowy political connections.
Against the backdrop of Central American politics, this suspenseful first novel from award-winning poet Janet McAdams explores an important chapter in American Indian history. Through finely drawn,  compelling characters and lucidly beautiful prose, Red Weather explores the journey from loss to possibility, from the secrets of the past to the longings of the present.

Published by: University of Arizona Press


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p. 1-1

Title Page, About the Series, Copyright

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pp. 2-5


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pp. v-vi

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1. Autobus Esmarelda

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pp. 1-4

After all these years, it was hard to imagine they were still alive. In the cold still hour before dawn, when other people woke to think of unpaid bills, of all their unkindnesses, their keenest embarrassments, Neva lay awake watching different versions of her parents’ lives flicker by like home movies. ...

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2. Ciudad Coatepeque

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pp. 5-8

Neva’s gold wedding ring had stretched the many miles between Atlanta and New Orleans. Her diamond solitaire had taken her high into the thin air over the Gulf of Mexico and down on the other shore. Her camera far into southern Mexico. The gold bangle she’d inherited from one of her mother’s friends had brought her here, ...

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3. The Central Plaza

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pp. 9-12

Like every American male Neva met in Coatepeque, Ralph wore a hat. It wasn’t as large as some of the hats she would meet, or as bright. Grime ringed the brim, and old sweat stains clouded the crown. ...

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4. Atlanta

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pp. 13-17

The day she left Atlanta, a Tuesday, she came home to find Will sitting at the kitchen table. He was rarely home these days. When he was, he argued with her, yelling and throwing things. When he wasn’t yelling, he sat in sullen silence, while Neva tried to find out what was wrong, what she had done. ...

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5. The Indian Wars

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pp. 18-25

The moped crept, then sped up. Each time she turned or wove between two cars, Kira shouted, “Hold on!” When Neva leaned hard against her, she felt Kira’s thin body, bony beneath a restless layer of muscle. They took turns where they leaned so sharply Neva could’ve touched the street with her fingertips. ...

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6. Dauphin Island

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pp. 26-34

“Or you could just stay,” Deb said. “You could meet some people tonight.” She turned to face Neva. A little tomato sauce clung to a lock of her short, light brown hair. “And then you can go up whenever you want to. That room is really quiet.” ...

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7. The International

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pp. 35-41

After Neva had been tutoring for a week, Mr. Kremer, the vice principal, called her into his office. Her palms were sweaty. There were stories that he compensated for stupidity with bullying, with strange deductions from paychecks for using too much chalk, that he didn’t like it when teachers pinned things to the bulletin boards because it made them look messy. ...

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8. The Yellow House

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pp. 42-46

Late one afternoon, as she chopped onions in the kitchen, she realized it had been a month, the time she’d promised to rent the room, and she had no thought of leaving. A month and what had she done with these thirty days? In the rush of sun and fruit drinks, of days at the volcano lake—of being included—what had happened to the search? ...

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9. The Farm

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pp. 47-52

There was no echo on the phone line tonight, the first time Neva and Harker had talked without the delay, the weird disconcerting sound of their words repeated and echoed on the line. When this happened, they would wait patiently before responding. What should have been short calls took a long time, cost a fortune. ...

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10. El Puerto del Diablo

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pp. 53-63

“I can’t dance,” Neva said, but the liaison officer was already pulling her to her feet and dragging her out onto the dance floor. “I don’t want to.” She laughed a little. “Really,” she said. ...

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11. Zona Rosa

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pp. 64-71

“You must eat here a lot,” Neva said, after they had been seated at a small round table by a window overlooking the courtyard. The room smelled of eucalyptus and garlic. The maître d’, then the waiters, had nodded at Tomás in recognition. ...

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12. The Indian Summer

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pp. 72-80

It had happened once, a few months before she left Atlanta, and then it didn’t happen for a long time. The phone rang one evening. It was Will. “I’ll be late,” he said. “A meeting and then some things to do at the office.” ...

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13. Burning the Letters

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pp. 81-85

Mail never came for Neva. No one knew where she was for months until she called Harker. They talked every week—on Thursdays at seven, or Fridays at four if he couldn’t get through. But they never wrote. “You must get your mail at home,” Nina Prescott said, ...

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14. The Madres Office

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pp. 86-95

Deb drove, skirting the edge of the city where the shanty towns went as far as you could see, then turning back into town. “You can get here on the Number 10,” she told Neva. “Take the Downtown and get off at Calle Los Parques, then take the 10 west. Or, if you want to walk half a mile or so, you can get the 10 at Benitez and Juarez.” ...

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15. Red Weather

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pp. 96-104

Neva met Will when she was twenty, a student in his political science class at the university. He did not notice her. On the few occasions when she put her hand up to answer questions, he never called on her, focusing, instead, on a handful of young men who sat in the first row and clustered around the lectern when class was over. ...

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16. The Courtyard of the Yellow House

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pp. 105-109

Neva left the market with a broad-brimmed straw hat, a bag of limes, and a round mirror framed by a ring of painted wooden dancers. She headed for the row of shops on Boulevard Calderón, hoping to find a metal hook for the back of her bedroom door, where she could hang the blue embroidered robe she’d inherited from the never-seen Cristina. ...

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17. If Lightning Was Desire

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pp. 110-121

That last night with Tomás: the strained silence over dinner. She wondered later what to unsay, but it had been building between them for weeks. Maybe it had been building since the first morning she awoke in his bare studio apartment and looked around. His secrets. His other life. ...

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18. The Rainy Season

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pp. 122-133

It rained every afternoon. It was nothing like the rain in the States. For two hours, everything was dark green and black; then trees, lawns, houses—it all turned to pale green, to yellowish green, especially where the sunlight broke through the dense trees. Green as a forest. ...

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19. The Heart of the World

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pp. 134-137

They kept climbing. The air was clear, so thin that gravity pulled at her ears. It was nearly midmorning, but still she heard the roosters crowing, the last a little plaintive, as if desperate to be heard. Up and up they went, passing little clusters of houses, a few signs, and then nothing but the narrow road, the rock and scrub falling away to the valley. ...

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20. Shifting Ground

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pp. 138-146

It was impossible to talk over the noise of backhoes, helicopters, and men shouting. Neva could only communicate by pointing and gesturing, as she dished up soup and handed out corn tortillas to a dazed mother and child. The little boy’s head was bandaged. Each person received one bowl of pork soup and two tortillas. ...

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21. Limbo

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pp. 147-155

They were in Peter’s Cherokee, four of them in the backseat sitting two forward, two back, the way the cousins did summers at her Aunt Moss’s house. The road went up and down hills, curving to the left, then the right. Peter kept his foot heavy on the gas pedal, laughing as they careened toward the Supermercado in Santa Ana. ...

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22. The Talladega Forest

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pp. 156-165

“Not recently,” she said. She felt a giggle rising in her chest. Oh God, is this hysteria? she wondered. “Excuse me a minute,” she said. She went into the living room and sat on the couch. We never sit in here, she thought—only when there’s a party. And then everyone stands. ...

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23. Before and After

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pp. 166-171

She had not slept when the knocking started the next morning. By then she knew something was terribly wrong, that she and Deb should not be there. The phone didn’t work and there was no one in the adjoining houses. Or if there were, they didn’t answer the door. ...

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24. The Border

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pp. 172-180

I will just stay here until my body goes drier and drier, thin, pared down to hollow bone and sinew stretched tight. I will stay until a strong wind blows away what’s left. No houses spinning or small dogs yapping to confuse the issue. Just me, dry and fragile as a leaf. Nothing anyone would ever notice. ...

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pp. 181-182

Research for this project was supported by funds from the University of Oklahoma, from a New Directions Initiative Grant from the Great Lakes College Association, and from the Robert P. Hubbard Fund at Kenyon College. The VCCA, the MacDowell Colony, Hedgebrook, ...

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About the Author

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p. 192-192

Janet McAdams is the author of two collections of poetry, Feral (Salt, 2007) and The Island of Lost Luggage (University of Arizona Press, 2000), which won the Diane Decorah First Book Award from the Native Writers’ Circle of the Americas and an American Book Award. With Geary Hobson and Kathryn Walkiewicz, ...

E-ISBN-13: 9780816599639
E-ISBN-10: 0816599637
Print-ISBN-13: 9780816520350
Print-ISBN-10: 0816520356

Page Count: 191
Publication Year: 2012

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Indians of North America -- Fiction.
  • American fiction -- 20th century.
  • American fiction -- Indian authors.
  • Short stories, American.
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