Tuesday, February 27, 2007

House Made of Dawn

N. Scott Momaday's House Made of Dawn was my next to last book for The Winter Reading Challenge. This book has been on my "To Be Read List" for far too long. I have on more than one occasion read the opening lines:
There was a house made of dawn. It was made of pollen and of rain, and the land was very old and everlasting. There were many colors on the hills, and the plain was bright with different-colored clays and sands. Red and blue and spotted horses grazed in the plain, and there was a dark wilderness on the mountains beyond. The land was still and strong. It was beautiful all around. Abel was running. . . . Against the winter sky and the long, light landscape of the valley at dawn, he seemed almost to be standing still, very little and alone.

Yet, the prologue was enough so I chose other books. Now that I have read the entire book, I have the details that give earthly reality to opening lines and the mirroring closing lines.

With dawn, though it is fleeting, there is always hope - the expectation of the continuing cycle of nature and the opportunity to start fresh. In House Made of Dawn we are faced with the reality of disconnecting culture and historical natural rhythms from the individual Native Americans who are forced into the fast paced American world. The near demise of Abel in war, judicial system, and then city life is heart wrenching. But, then there is dawn.

1 comment:

Susan said...

Another book to add to your list Ijust finished... The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion. Won the National Book Award last year I think.