cover image Power


Linda Hogan. W. W. Norton & Company, $23 (235pp) ISBN 978-0-393-04636-6

Sixteen-year-old Omishita Eaton and her adoptive Aunt Ama, the main characters of Chickasaw Indian Hogan's (Solar Storms) thought-provoking new bildungsroman, are members of the fictional Taiga tribe of Florida, a dwindling group down to its last 30 members. After a devastating hurricane, Ama and the girl track a wounded deer into the swamps, using it as a stalking horse to hunt a panther, an animal sacred to the Taiga. Ama kills the cat, a scrawny, flea-bitten example of its species, and is charged with poaching and violations of the Endangered Species Act. The event tears the Taiga community apart. Most castigate her for slaying the sacred animal, but Omishita stands by her. Though Ama's motives are never made entirely clear, there are intimations that she undertook the taboo act in the hope of sparking a regeneration not only of the Taiga culture but of all Creation itself. Hogan is known principally as a poet, and the current work reflects that vocation in her lyrical, almost mystical use of language. The novel is about two different ways of knowing the world and the problems that ensue when these ways come into conflict. Though slow at times, this is nonetheless a novel of gentle rewards. (May)