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B o o k R e v ie w s 4 1 5 subjects. This is appropriate given the emergent position of explicitly Native cultural studies and the intellectual and ethical demands this project makes of a critic. Womack, for instance, calls for a “compassionate criticism,” which he characterizes as a “creative and life-affirming scholarship ever opening itself up to new ideas instead of closing them out” and motivated “by love of one’s own community rather than by hatred of those one disagrees with” (357). Open inquiry meets situational ethics. The themes and issues raised in this text are of import to scholars of the cultural matrix of the North American West insofar as one cannot avoid “the Indian” in genre films and novels or the experience of Native life in cultural geography. These writers present a complete and coherent representation of the West— and to understand “the Indian,” one would do well to begin with what Native scholars have to say. Further, this project’s contributions generally have purchase for at least two other emergent intellectual developments that are themselves indigenous to the West: ecocriticism and integral theory. Specifically in the case of the former, Cheryl Suzack’s reflections on land claims and identity narrate a tense and contested relationship between subalterity and identifica­ tion with place. And of the latter, Womack frames a hermeneutic appropriate to sacred language and sacred performance while urging caution when it comes to the influence of race, class, and place on spiritual expression. In doing so, he offers a useful corrective to the admittedly excessive claims of universality by integral theorists such as Ken Wilber, Don Beck, and Allan Combs. The Enders Hotel. By Brandon Schrand. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2008. $17.95, 230 pages. M an Killed by Pheasant: And Other Kinships. By John T. Price. Cambridge, MA: Da Capo Press, 2008. $25.00, 260 pages. Reviewed by Jennifer Sinor Utah State University, Logan Several years ago at the Western Literature Association conference, scholars and writers formed a panel on western memoir to ask what elements, if any, made a memoir “western.” In that conversation, the concept of place appeared as a unifying force that might serve to bind western memoirs together and pro­ vide a connection between writers working across centuries, races, and regions. While discussions of place are obviously not only the province of western writ­ ers, place does dominate the literary and critical conversations about living in the West. Two recent memoirs give us much to think about in terms of place, and western places in particular, but they also use place as a vehicle for consid­ ering other related issues like the self, loss, and the role of memory in shaping our present and past. Longing is the central theme of Brandon Schrand’s extraordinary debut memoir, The Enders Hotel—the longing of a boy to be a man, the longing of 4 1 6 W e s t e r n A m e r ic a n L it e r a t u r e W in t e r 2 0 0 9 the man to connect with the boy he once was, and the longing of a son for a father he never knew. Set in Soda Springs, Idaho, in the mid-1980s, Schrand’s memoir records the stories of many who passed through the lobby of the familyowned Enders Hotel: the wanderers, the down-and-out, the chased, the forgot­ ten, and those bent on self-destruction. Through his young eyes, we witness a moment in western history when boom-time living gave way to desertion and decay. And we learn how a place can bind a family and destroy them, how it is ultimately “a complicated thing” (223). Schrand’s lyrical prose and poetic sensibility engender beauty amid a land­ scape that has been gutted. Pours of molten slag color the sky radioactive orange and serve as a refrain throughout the book, the glowing sky calling Schrand home at the same time it reminds him of how much has already been lost. In The Enders Hotel clouds sweep “the sky of its light,” aspen leaves fall “to the...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1948-7142
Print ISSN
0043-3462
Pages
pp. 415-417
Launched on MUSE
2017-10-04
Open Access
No
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