GERONIMO'S BONES: A Memoir of My Brother and Me

Nasdijj, Author . Ballantine $24.95 (320p) ISBN 978-0-345-45391-4

Nasdijj (The Boy and the Dog Are Sleeping ) juggles sardonic anger and full-out hilarity in his lyrical memoir of two Native American boys fighting to survive the harsh, oppressive world of a Navajo reservation and countless migrant camps in the 1950s. The sons of an alcoholic Navajo mother and a brutal white father, Nasdijj and Tso used reading to while away the long hours between camps, but later became apprentice criminals, stealing books to satisfy their thirst for knowledge. After alcoholism killed the boys' mother, their father suffered an emotional collapse, leaving the boys homeless. Later, together again, the boys fell victim to their father's nightly sexual assaults, which Nasdijj poignantly recounts: "I kept the memories of his arrivals, his demented craving for that human touch and companionship he never had in the real world, only in the world of our warm beds, as secrets locked forever within a tomb, mine mainly, knowing in my heart that if the tomb were ever opened... not only would my universe implode, but my chances of ever being really loved by my father would be nonexistent." Through illness, poverty and racism, Nasdijj found strength in his people's culture, especially in the myth of the warrior Geronimo, until he and Tso finally escaped their father's tyranny and the cruelty of the crime-ridden camps for gritty adventures on the open road. Nasdijj's observations on his and Tso's arduous quest for redemption and independence are detailed, smart and clever. While Nasdijj's writing is frank and funny, he never fails to target the heart, even when writing about the most painful events. (On sale Mar. 30)

Forecast: Expect strong sales, based on the success of The Boy and the Dog (it was a Book Sense 76 pick) as well as local media and bookstore appearances in North Carolina (where Nasdijj lives) and print ads. Ballantine will simultaneously publish a paperback edition of The Boy and the Dog.

Reviewed on: 02/02/2004
Release date: 03/01/2004
Paperback - 304 pages - 978-0-345-45392-1
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