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People of the Whale

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People of the Whale Cover

ISBN13: 9780393064575
ISBN10: 0393064573
Condition:
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

A powerful story of a Vietnam veteran torn between his war experience and his Native American community.

Raised in a remote seaside village, Thomas Witka Just marries Ruth, his beloved since infancy. But an ill-fated decision to fight in Vietnam changes his life forever: cut off from his Native American community, he fathers a child with another woman. When he returns home a hero, he finds his tribe in conflict over the decision to hunt a whale, both a symbol of spirituality and rebirth and a means of survival. In the end, he reconciles his two existences, only to see tragedy befall the son he left behind.

Linda Hogan, called our most provocative Native American writer, with "her unparalleled gifts for truth and magic" (Barbara Kingsolver), has written a compassionate novel about the beauty of the natural world and the painful moral choices humans make in it. With a keen sense of the environment, spirituality, and the trauma of war, People of the Whale is a powerful novel for our times.

Review:

"In telling a story of the fictional A'atsika, a Native people of the American West Coast who find their mythical origins in the whale and the octopus, Hogan (Mean Spirit) employs just the right touch of spiritualism in this engrossing tale. When Thomas Witka Just succumbs to peer pressure and joins the army, then is sent to Vietnam, Ruth Small is pregnant with his child. In an attempt to prevent an atrocity, Thomas kills fellow soldiers and deserts, ultimately blending into the Vietnamese culture and fathering a child, Lin, by Ma, a village girl. In the meantime, Ruth gives birth to their son, Marco Polo, who is said to have the same mystical whaling powers of Thomas's grandfather. Years later, following Thomas's return, Dwight, a ne'er-do-well friend of Thomas's, arranges for the tribe to kill a whale and to sell the meat to the Japanese, a plan that will draw in Marco Polo and set up a confrontation between the whole ensemble. Despite the plot's multiple strands, the story flows smoothly, and Hogan comes up with a powerful, romantic crescendo." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"Hogan's style is both dreamlike and realistic, with a nonlinear narrative that loops back on itself as more and more is revealed. While filled with heartbreaking events, the novel has a life-affirming spirit that makes the journey worthwhile. Highly recommended." Library Journal

Review:

"Deeply ecological, original, and spellbinding, Hogan ascends to an even higher plane in this hauntingly beautiful novel of the hidden dimensions of life, and all that is now imperiled." Booklist

Review:

"Don't miss this beautiful novel." Charlotte Observer

Review:

"[A] fascinating look at how the traditions of native Northwest peoples intersect and collide with 20th-century America, issues still very relevant and important to us today." Oregonian

Review:

"[A] fine story that embraces the worthy subjects of modern American Indians, the Vietnam War and the importance of family." Rocky Mountain News

Synopsis:

A powerful story of a Vietnam veteran torn between his war experience and his Native American community.

Synopsis:

Raised in a remote seaside village, Thomas Witka Just marries Ruth, his beloved since infancy. But an ill-fated decision to fight in Vietnam changes his life forever: cut off from his Native American community, he fathers a child with another woman. When he returns home a hero, he finds his tribe in conflict over the decision to hunt a whale, both a symbol of spirituality and rebirth and a means of survival. In the end, he reconciles his two existences, only to see tragedy befall the son he left behind.

Linda Hogan, called our most provocative Native American writer, with "her unparalleled gifts for truth and magic" (Barbara Kingsolver), has written a compassionate novel about the beauty of the natural world and the painful moral choices humans make in it. With a keen sense of the environment, spirituality, and the trauma of war, People of the Whale is a powerful novel for our times.

About the Author

Linda Hogan was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for her novel Mean Spirit. Her other honors include an American Book Award and a Guggenheim Fellowship. She teaches English at the University of Colorado in Boulder and lives in Idledale.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

ginger_young, October 18, 2008 (view all comments by ginger_young)
This was a book that was difficult to put down.
I could feel the desperation of Ruth as she gave her son to the Elders of the Tribe to learn the old ways, giving the only thing she had left to try to save what was most important to her people. When her husband finally returns, he still remains away from her although she takes him food. Ruth is an extremely strong person and gives everything for her tribal customs, & the sea. Eventually, after the now grown Lin, the daughter that her husband had in Viet Nam comes to see him, but Ruth takes in, Thomas visits The Wall in D.C. & the healing for him finally begins.
This is a powerful book and Linda Hogan writes in a way that makes the reader want to consume it in one sitting.
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(2 of 2 readers found this comment helpful)

Product Details

ISBN:
9780393064575
Author:
Hogan, Linda
Publisher:
W. W. Norton & Company
Subject:
General
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
Indians of north america
Subject:
Culture conflict
Subject:
Historical
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Copyright:
Publication Date:
August 2008
Binding:
Hardcover
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
304
Dimensions:
8.60x5.86x1.10 in. .85 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
History and Social Science » Native American » Literature

People of the Whale New Hardcover
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Product details 304 pages W. W. Norton & Company - English 9780393064575 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "In telling a story of the fictional A'atsika, a Native people of the American West Coast who find their mythical origins in the whale and the octopus, Hogan (Mean Spirit) employs just the right touch of spiritualism in this engrossing tale. When Thomas Witka Just succumbs to peer pressure and joins the army, then is sent to Vietnam, Ruth Small is pregnant with his child. In an attempt to prevent an atrocity, Thomas kills fellow soldiers and deserts, ultimately blending into the Vietnamese culture and fathering a child, Lin, by Ma, a village girl. In the meantime, Ruth gives birth to their son, Marco Polo, who is said to have the same mystical whaling powers of Thomas's grandfather. Years later, following Thomas's return, Dwight, a ne'er-do-well friend of Thomas's, arranges for the tribe to kill a whale and to sell the meat to the Japanese, a plan that will draw in Marco Polo and set up a confrontation between the whole ensemble. Despite the plot's multiple strands, the story flows smoothly, and Hogan comes up with a powerful, romantic crescendo." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "Hogan's style is both dreamlike and realistic, with a nonlinear narrative that loops back on itself as more and more is revealed. While filled with heartbreaking events, the novel has a life-affirming spirit that makes the journey worthwhile. Highly recommended."
"Review" by , "Deeply ecological, original, and spellbinding, Hogan ascends to an even higher plane in this hauntingly beautiful novel of the hidden dimensions of life, and all that is now imperiled."
"Review" by , "Don't miss this beautiful novel."
"Review" by , "[A] fascinating look at how the traditions of native Northwest peoples intersect and collide with 20th-century America, issues still very relevant and important to us today."
"Review" by , "[A] fine story that embraces the worthy subjects of modern American Indians, the Vietnam War and the importance of family."
"Synopsis" by , A powerful story of a Vietnam veteran torn between his war experience and his Native American community.
"Synopsis" by , Raised in a remote seaside village, Thomas Witka Just marries Ruth, his beloved since infancy. But an ill-fated decision to fight in Vietnam changes his life forever: cut off from his Native American community, he fathers a child with another woman. When he returns home a hero, he finds his tribe in conflict over the decision to hunt a whale, both a symbol of spirituality and rebirth and a means of survival. In the end, he reconciles his two existences, only to see tragedy befall the son he left behind.

Linda Hogan, called our most provocative Native American writer, with "her unparalleled gifts for truth and magic" (Barbara Kingsolver), has written a compassionate novel about the beauty of the natural world and the painful moral choices humans make in it. With a keen sense of the environment, spirituality, and the trauma of war, People of the Whale is a powerful novel for our times.

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