Wild Indians and Other Creatures

Adrian C. Louis, Author
Adrian C. Louis, Author University of Nevada Press $21 (200p) ISBN 978-0-87417-279-9
Paperback - 185 pages - 978-0-87417-303-1
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Modern Native American life is the topic as Louis (Skins), a Paiute Indian and noted poet, joins a tradition of Native humor with a hard edge that runs from Alexander Posey straight to Sherman Alexie. In these 25 pieces, traditional tricksters like Coyote and Raven (from the Northwest Coast) mingle and marry easily with humans. These tricksters possess strong sexual appetites: in ""Why Coyote Knotted His Whanger,"" Coyote ties the eponymous appendage into a knot because it has gotten him into trouble once too often. Characters are often abusive: in ""Raven in the Eye of the Storm,"" the title character constantly shrieks at his wife, whom he considers to have been rendered incompetent by Christianity. Alcohol, prostitution and self-hatred abound. Obviously, these are not the romantic Indians of screen and popular fiction. Timmy John Pretty Bull schemes to leave his life and seduce a new woman by appealing to the power of dreams; Raven prepares gourmet food out of a Pierre Franey cookbook. Even in this world of human derelicts, however, there is hope and warmth. In ""Auntie Angie's Cheyenne Affair,"" an aged woman, looking for her missing granddaughter, finds comfort and companionship with someone as wounded as herself. But the coziness of that story stands out as Louis's voice runs acidly ribald and raw through the rest of this bitterly entertaining collection. (Apr.)
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