Watermelon nights: a novel

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Penguin, Nov 11, 1999 - Fiction - 432 pages
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In a powerful follow-up to his widely acclaimed short story collection, Grand Avenue, Greg Sarris tells a tale about the love and forgiveness that keep a modem American Indian family together.

Told from the points of view of a twenty-year-old Pomo Indian named Johnny Severe, his grandmother, Elba, and his mother, Iris, Watermelon Nights uncovers the secrets behind each of these characters' extraordinary powers of perception. Johnny is trying to organize the remaining members of his displaced tribe; at the same time he contemplates leaving his grandmother's home for the big city. As the novel shifts perspective, tracing the controversial history of the tribe, we learn how the tragic events of Elba's childhood, as well as Iris's attempts to separate herself from her cultural roots, make Johnny's dilemma all the more difficult. Gritty yet rich in detail and emotion, Watermelon Nights stands beside the novels of Louise Erdrich, Michael Dorris, and Sherman Alexie as an important work not only in Native American literature, but in contemporary American fiction.

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WATERMELON NIGHTS

User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

An ambitious, meticulously detailed story about modern Native American life, focusing on the struggle of a small, disenfranchised tribe in modern-day California to reclaim its heritage and identity ... Read full review

Contents

Section 1
3
Section 2
15
Section 3
39
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About the author (1999)

Part American Indian, Filipino, and Jewish, Greg Sarris was adopted at birth and raised in both Indian and white families. He is Professor of English at the University of California, Los Angeles, and chief of the Coast Miwok tribe. He is the author of "Keeping Slug Woman Alive: Essays Toward a Holistic Approach to American Indian Texts" (California, 1993), editor of "Rattles and Clappers: An Anthology of California Indian Writing" (1994), and author of a volume of short stories, "Grand Avenue" (1994).

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