Rainer Maria Rilke

"Live a while in these books, learn from them what seems to you worth learning, but above all love them. This love will be repaid you a thousand and a thousand times, and however your life may turn,-it will, I am certain of it, run through the fabric of your growth as one of the most important threads among all the threads of your experiences, disappointments, and joys."--Rainer Maia Rilke

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Sunday, November 11, 2012

An Appalachian Charles Dickens

The Legend of Tyoga Weathersby by H.L. Grandin

Adult Fiction

This author is an Appalachian Charles Dickens and that isn't necessarily meant as a compliment.  His command of the English language is masterful.  His descriptions are lush and effusive.  Yet, what the heck does he mean by it all?  I sometimes got so lost in the rocking, rolling cadence of Grandin's words that I forgot there was even a story going on.  It is more like a narrative poem than a piece of traditional fiction.

Tyoga is a boy/man walking between many worlds, most notably that of the white man and Indians of the Indiana and western territory.  The frontier is just starting to expand and open up and Tyoga is caught between these two very different societies.  Tyoga is a pioneer, raised as a neighbor and adopted son of a local Native American tribe.  One would expect social and cultural problems and there are many, but mostly with his adopted brethren as opposed to his white family that are never introduced or even referenced beyond the first chapter.  If this were such a struggle for Tyoga, wouldn't he mention his family at least once?  Tyoga also has a very strange encounter with a wolf and somehow their two souls merge together.  It isn't explained in the book much better than that.  There are the hints of a kind of love story, well two love stories, but Tyoga is so wishy-washy, he pretty much cheats on both of them, leaving a very bad taste in the reader's mouth.

The book was extremely sensuous and sexual in weirdly inappropriate ways.  I most certainly didn't love the story and found it extremely hard to connect with Tyoga or even relate to him as a human being.  In the end, I just didn't care about him and was hoping he would get eaten by some type of wild critter so a more reasonable/rational main character could take over.

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