People of the Whale: A Novel

Front Cover
W. W. Norton & Company, 2008 - Fiction - 303 pages
20 Reviews
A powerful story of a Vietnam veteran torn between his war experience and his Native American community.

Raised in a remote seaside village, Thomas Witka Just marries Ruth, his beloved since infancy. But an ill-fated decision to fight in Vietnam changes his life forever: cut off from his Native American community, he fathers a child with another woman. When he returns home a hero, he finds his tribe in conflict over the decision to hunt a whale, both a symbol of spirituality and rebirth and a means of survival. In the end, he reconciles his two existences, only to see tragedy befall the son he left behind.

Linda Hogan, called our most provocative Native American writer, with ?her unparalleled gifts for truth and magic? (Barbara Kingsolver), has written a compassionate novel about the beauty of the natural world and the painful moral choices humans make in it. With a keen sense of the environment, spirituality, and the trauma of war, People of the Whale is a powerful novel for our times.

 

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Review: People of the Whale

User Review  - Bette - Goodreads

Beautifully written. Characters are very real and the plot moves quickly. Cultures clash, Native American tradition of hunting whales vs. sport and money. Read full review

Review: People of the Whale

User Review  - Ian Stewart - Goodreads

I had expected a well-rounded and sympathetic portrayal of indigenous peoples, but this book seems invested in portraying them as villainous for succumbing to the material necessities thrust upon them under capitalism. The prose is awful to boot. Read full review

Selected pages

Contents

Prologue
9
Octopus
15
Deathless
26
Body Lies
45
The Wife of Marco Polo
52
The Son of Thomas
59
Ruth
64
1988
66
He Goes Beneath
158
Out There
164
Lightyears
181
Human
207
Home
238
The Names
243
Ruth Watching
258
Department of the Army Rooms
261

Hunt
86
Dark Houses
101
He Builds the Fence
111
The Rain Priest
124
After the Rain
155
The Day of Tranquillity
267
The Man Who Killed the Whale
282
Stirrings Underneath
288
Acknowledgments
303
Copyright

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About the author (2008)

Linda Hogan was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for her novel Mean Spirit. Her other honors include an American Book Award and a Guggenheim Fellowship. She lives in Tishomingo, Oklahoma.

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