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194 Western American Literature rez), reminiscent of the effects of William Maxwell at his novelistic best, or of Ivan Doig’s recent memoir of his father, This House of Sky. In a way, what Maxwell has done for the Midwest in his fiction, what Doig has done for Montana and the Rocky Mountain West — bringing to life their char­ acter and characters, their “spirit of place,” — Lange now does for the Southwest, for New Mexico, the locale which in his metaphorical tribute he calls “the land of the long shadow.” As the grandson and heir to interracial, multi-cultural ancestry, Roy Gutierrez, at the age of 56 during the novel’s main storyline of the contem­ porary present, finds himself through both remembrances and new experi­ ences, old friends and new lovers, and finally comes to terms with his almost freakishly large stature and his splotched skin (the condition known clinically as leukoderma or the loss of melanin from the skin). In the process he settles an old score and stops, aided by his gunfighter grandfather’s pistol, the harassments of Bill “Evil” Maldonado, a punk rodeo cowboy who possibly is Roy’s half-brother. Moreover, Gutierrez decides the contest for the exploita­ tion of his town by fast-operator Neil Larson and his Sun-Belt schemes for “re-creational” land development and his opposition, the fusty and funny Gardiner Potts and the interests of the New' Mexico Historical Society. Too conventionally perhaps, in what could be considered a stereotyped turn of character and events, Roy’s catalyst for self-acceptance and purpose in life enters in the serendipitous form of a classy Anglo female, a free-spirited former hippy, now divorced and mellowed at age thirty, named Rae Ehrenson. In a miscegenated, idyllic summer at Sawmill River Flats, Roy and Rae ironically discover their future, together and as individuals, in the face of Uncle Walter’s hilarious old age and poignant death. There is much more one could say about the travails, techniques and overall celebrations of Lange’s The Land of the Long Shadow. Suffice it here to brieflly observe that the author and his book, like the people and the land he writes about, cast their own shadow of thought and emotion long after the reader completes the final page. ROBERT GISH, University of Northern Iowa Mapping My Father. By Ripley Schemm. (Story, WY: Dooryard Press, 1981. 32 pages, $6.00.) Like many first books, Ripley Schemm’sbegins with evocations of child­ hood. But it is exactly there that the similarities end. There is an easy grace to Schemm’s poems that is most uncommon in first books — she does not tell us “about” her childhood; rather, she presents concrete events in a clear, direct language that permits us entry into her experience. She uses her Reviews 195 experience as a ground for larger ideas, as in “Out of Old Wind,” “One spring storm / we disappeared, each one / lost from the other. / One grew fists / he turned on himself. / The nest grew afraid / of his own dark face. / A third one paced / in a small town street. / I grew these breasts I beg with. / But I still bear the sign, / the need to lie close to stone.” The pacing of these lines is impeccable. While it is easy, simple even, to keep the line short, to break the line at the obvious caesura, the narrow line carries much more tension. As Robert Duncan has said, the long line is for rhythm, the short line for candor. More than that, there is just enough said in this passage to imply, to evaluate without preaching. “One grew fists / he turned on himself.” Surely, we all knew this young man in our adolescence. Schemm’s judgment is true without becoming overly severe. There is great variety as well. She begins a poem called “Headwaters” with an entirely different music: Keeper of sacred ground, born Metis in these aspen, pushed down the South Fork to jackpine flats with your people, your wagon rumbles up this canyon each morning of my life. Your eyes bring back white goats to the face of Wind Mountain. I see you driving to Green Gulch, to...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1948-7142
Print ISSN
0043-3462
Pages
pp. 194-195
Launched on MUSE
2017-10-04
Open Access
No
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