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Reviews 85 realities with their past identities. Velie briefly introduces each author by noting his or her published works and giving an interpretive frame for the selection. For the most part, the selections represent well the uniqueness of each author’s style and key themes. In the case of Silko and Welch,Velie has chosen to include excerpts from their lesser-known works rather than the novels which center their fictional worlds. This attractive book might work as a supplemental college text if the price were not so high. But an additional problem in this regard is that it contains no guide to criticism. And, while there is no disputing the significance of these seven authors in Native American fiction, it is regrettable that Velie provides no references to other important contemporary Indian novelists such as Paula Gunn Allen, Anna Walters,Janet Campbell Hale, or Forrest Carter. RICHARD POTTER Roger Williams College A Summer Life. By Gary Soto. (Hanover: University Press of New England, 1990. 115 pages, $16.95.) Simply put, Gary Soto’s collection of short stories is about a familiar and universal theme: about growing up. But because Soto is writing about himself, it finds an immediacy that is fresh and compelling. As a Mexican-American born in the Central Valley’s Fresno in 1952, he remembers those sizzling summer months of freedom in such painstaking detail that we are drawn into the narrative and cannot help but relive our own childhood along with Soto’s. What makes this collection special is its point of view. With photographic precision Soto recreates the child’s world of the senses. The five-year-old munches on juicy plums and peaches, smells his “tennies,” and listens to the Spanish radio stations favored by his immigrant grandparents. Yet it is the sights that dominate: from Braly Street the boy can see nearby Coleman Pickles and “Sun-Maid Raisin, where our family worked behind a penitentiary of tall win­ dows.” Frequently, he and his older brother Rick, younger sister Debra, and a baby brother have to be left to the care of baby sitters, and thus their “streak of orneriness”as Soto calls it in an earlier collection (California Childhood: Recollec­ tions and Stones of the Golden State, 1988) finds ample outlet. But Soto takes us beyond pranks and tricks when he recalls some often painful lessons: the ridicule when Rhinehardt butchers his haircut; the guilt when a neighborhood cat kills his chicks; and the search for idols and self-acceptance during his teenage years when he feels nothing but ugly. A Summer Life touches the heart not so much because Soto opens a rare window onto Chicano living but because the experiences he depicts mirror our own. With self-deprecating humor and powerful imagery that bespeak the winner of numerous poetry awards, Soto brings this collection to (summer) life 86 Western American Literature and leaves us feeling as good as the five-year-old protagonist: “For me, life was mostly summer days tramping in cut-offs and a peach-stained T-shirt. I loved my life....”Soto’s SummerLife makes wonderful reading for all ages—notjust in the summer. BRIGITTE LaPRESTO Pikeville College The End of the Dream & Other Stories. ByJohn G. Neihardt. Compiled by Hilda Neihardt Petri. (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1991. 115 pages, $19.95.) Although John Neihardt is best remembered as the biographer of the Dakota holy man Black Elk and the author of the five-part verse epic Cycle ofthe West, these stories are some of his earliest published work, stemming from his experiences as a trader’s clerk on the Omaha reservation near Bancroft, Ne­ braska. All nine stories originally appeared in the San Francisco-based Overland Monthly between 1901 and 1905, and differed from most other “Indian”stories printed there in that Neihardt’s characters were neither bloodthirsty nor noble savages, but, as Neihardt wrote in a letter to a friend, human beings “in the grip of fate.”In the second volume of his autobiography Patterns and Coincidences, he writes that after reading the stories, Dr. Susan La Flesche Picotte, the first Native American woman to earn an M.D. degree, and the daughter of Iron...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1948-7142
Print ISSN
0043-3462
Pages
pp. 85-86
Launched on MUSE
2017-10-04
Open Access
No
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