The Diné Reader

Edited by Esther G. Belin et al. Univ. of Arizona, $24.95 (432p) ISBN 978-0-8165-4099-0
Navajo artist and writer Belin and her coeditors compile a marvelously comprehensive anthology of Navajo literature, comprising a mix of familiar authors and bright new voices. They begin with a grounded excerpt of Blackhorse Mitchell’s 1967 memoir Miracle Hill. Other notables include Grey Cohoe, whose gritty, metaphoric prose is displayed in the story “The Promised Visit,” and Nia Francisco, whose poems appear in both Diné Bizaad and English. Younger standouts include Tacey Atsitty (from her poem “Ach’íí’”: “He had been memorizing/land formations: an angel the size of his hand/disappeared, and after that he was so empty”), and Bojan Louis, who writes in the essay “Beauty & Memory & Abuse & Love” that “Decolonization and Love seem like unlikely partners or unique inner demons.” There’s also the beautiful and strange story “In This Dream of Waking, a Weaver” by Natanya Ann Pulley, in which a woman, after gathering her extended family members at a hotel to collect oral histories, reflects: “A family tree, she thought. How absurd. How unnatural. As if a branch of her bloodline could ever end. As if a tree was still a tree without sensing a forest.” Readers will come away with a sense of the tremendous diversity in a seemingly small corner of the Native literary world. (Apr.)
Reviewed on : 04/21/2021
Release date: 04/01/2021
Genre: Fiction
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