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that küled his mother, Jenny Templin. Jenny was white. Bo's father, Kamon (who wasn't married to Jenny), was black. Neither set ofparents approved of the match, and when Kamon is shot while on his way to buy cigarettes for his thuggish cousin, the stage is set for a battle over who will raise Bo. Not surprisingly, Bo is taken from his poor but virtuous African American grandparents and placed in the care of Marge and Eddie Gantz, Jenny's troubled but seemingly normal suburbanite parents, where Bo becomes, as Eddie calls him, a "devU child." Scott's dazzling technical skill and unfaltering voice set this novel aglow. As with so many other voicedriven novels (The Sound and the Fury comes to mind), it takes a while to get oriented. The novel begins with Bo's perspective on the car accident: "Maybe he fell and that's why he was hurting and dangling upside down like a pati ofjeans on the wash Une." A wonderful omniscient narrator crawls inside the mind of each character and assumes his or her unique (and always warped) take on the situation. Scott does an especially good job of re-creating a chUd's limited grasp of cause and effect: "It was his fault, everything was his fault, even the cage fuU of pink and blue bunnies at the end of the sale aisle. The bunnies were put there to tempt little kids, and he was a little kid, so the bunnies were his fault." She captures , too, the chUd's heartbreakingly lucid realizations: "Gone was gone, and if one morning he got out of bed and snuck downstairs and left the house and kept walking up the street, past Mrs. Kelper's house to the bus stop and beyond, Mama wouldn't come after him, she wouldn't slap him and then cover him with kisses, she wouldn't say, Whata bad boy, bad!" The fact that Make Believe often approaches melodrama prevents it from being a masterpiece. Still, it is a shining book, owing mainly to Scott's authorial skiU. There are no characters that are simply bad or simply good. This is a novel rich in wit, chUdhood magic, beauty and tragedy. (SF) Gardens in the Dunes by Leslie Maimón Silko Scribner Paperback Fiction, 2000, 477 pp., $14 Take the "Americans abroad" theme of expatriate novelists like Henry James, intertwine it with the oppression of Native Americans in the desert Southwest, fUter it aU through a postcolonial sensibiUty, and you get the sweep of Leslie Marmon Silko's new novel, Gardens in the Dunes. In her first novel since the criticaUy lauded Almanac of the Dead (1991), Silko's fans will recognize themes of spirituaUty, nurture and a need for balance in the natural world. The book's straightforward, conventionaUy structured tale wiU likely win her new audiences. The ancestral gardens of the title form a refuge in the desert of the Arizona-California border for two sisters of the iconoclastic Sand Lizard people. Theti stories diverge when Sister Salt is taken to a reservation whUe younger Indigo is sent away to boarding school; their efforts to find each other and return to the garden of their innocence form the main vector of the plot. A few episodes chronicle 184 · The Missouri Review Sister Salt's struggle to gain independence tii the colonists' world by doing laundry at a work camp. The bulk of the novel foUows headstrong Indigo as she becomes the traveling companion and surrogate daughter of "overly" educated Hattie, who has entered into a companionable yet passionless marriage to botanist and dreamer Edward Palmer. Hattie promises to help Indigo find her sister after Edward's research trip to Europe. Their journey provides ample opportunities for the newlyweds and Indigo to learn about one another. In this version of the Grand Tour, the Native American "discovers" a strange and exotic Europe. Throughout , Silko provides fragments of forgotten histories of conquest, retigion and science: for example, Hattie studies female leaders in ancient Gnostic scriptures. Gardens rendered in highly specific detail are the common ground for characters during the trip and provide an organizing theme among different cultures. Silko...


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