The Indian Lawyer

James Welch, Author W. W. Norton & Company $19.95 (349p) ISBN 978-0-393-02896-6
Following his poetic, gripping evocation of Native American culture in Fools no apostrophe sss Crow , set in the 1800s, Welch returns to the contemporary scene with the tale of a man whose ascent from a Montana reservation into upper-middle-class society has all the elements of a classic success story--including a fall from grace. By dint of talent and hard work, Sylvester Yellow Knife has escaped the fate of most of his fellow Blackfeet. A college basketball star and graduate of Stanford Law School, he is at 35 a highly regarded lawyer in a prestigious Helena firm, about to declare his candidacy for Congress, where he hopes to help his people and assuage his guilt over having abandoned their poverty-stricken world. But when the prison parole board of which he is a member denies parole to a wily man desperate to end his incarceration, Sylvester becomes the target of a blackmailing scheme. Welch underscores the ironies in his hero's rise from the reservation by counterpointing the ways in which the convict squandered his considerable opportunities and ran his life downhill. Sylvester's growing doubts about assimilation and his need to identify with his Native American roots are counterpoised to his realization that he may be deprived of the opportunity to make a contribution on a national scale. The thriller elements of the plot are developed with credibility, and while the narrative lacks the hallucinatory power of Fools Crow , it is a convincing story of a man who almost loses his values and his soul. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 10/01/1990
Release date: 10/01/1990
Paperback - 352 pages - 978-0-14-011052-4
Paperback - 349 pages - 978-0-393-32938-4
Prebound-Sewn - 978-1-4177-0300-5
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