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Almanac of the Dead Paperback – Nov 1 1992
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From Publishers Weekly
Silko's ambitious but meandering novel untertakes an epic narrative, heavy with intrigue and carnage, about an apocalyptic Native American insurrection. Author tour.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
When the ex-mistress of a sinister cocaine wholesaler takes a job as secretary to a Native American clairvoyant who works the TV talk show circuit, she begins transcribing an ancient manuscript that foretells the second coming of Quetzalcoatl and the violent end of white rule in the Americas. Witches and shamans across the country are working to fulfill this prophecy, but the capitalist elite is mounting a dirty war of its own, with weapons such as heroin and cocaine. This novel belongs on the same shelf with Ishmael Reed's Mumbo Jumbo ( LJ 10/1/72) and Edward Abbey's The Monkey Wrench Gang (1975). Occult conspiracies multiply at a dizzying pace, and eco-radicals actually do blow up the Glen Canyon Dam. Silko succeeds more as a storyteller than a novelist: the book is full of memorable vignettes, but the frame story of apocalyptic racial warfare is clumsy comic book fare. Recommended for collections of magic realism and Native American fiction.
- Edward B. St. John, Loyola Law Sch . Lib., Los Angeles
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
There are good characters in this book. Unfortunately, Silko also includes their laundry lists, measurements of their teeth, the minutes from the board meetings they attend, their favorite recipes for cornbread...
Characters and story lines are introduced, then abandoned and left to dangle, only to be revisited in the most repititious and taxing prose imaginable. With a few years of editing and rewriting, this tome might yield some decent novellas, an interesting collection of folklore and ethnography, and some dreary journalistic material. As is, it is not some grand, free-flowing, apocalyptic--oh, I forget what the review said--but a big mess disguised as a novel.
Certainly worth reading, Almanac of the Dead is at its best comic and entertaining, with some well-developed and unique characters. The best are Roy Rambo, the chief of the Army of the Homeless in Tucson, whose identifying mark is his crisp, dry-cleaned green beret; La Escapia and the Police Chief in Mexico are also powerfully developed and involved in some of the more interesting scenes in the novel.
Others are disappointing: Beaufrey and Serlo, for example, both misogynist dealers in pornography, snuff films, and white supremacy, are developed into the ground. Silko repeatedly tells us what we can figure out on our own: Beaufrey and Serlo hate women, and they are racists. This tendency to tell rather than show happens repeatedly in the novel and causes it to sag.
Many readers will find the violence and sex in the novel not just gratuitous, but downright sickening. Infanticide, bestiality, torture, cannibalism, autopsies, illegal organ harvesting--it's all here, often described in minute, clinical detail. Although one could argue that Silko is making a critique of the cultures that produce these deviants, clearly her representations of perversions and death are excessive.
Readers looking for insights into problems plaguing contemporary Native Americans found in Ceremony will not like Almanac at all. It goes on and on and on, ending with the reader wondering what it all means.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
By any standard of measurement, Leslie Marmon Silko is a great American writer, and her novels, beginning with "Ceremony", are notable additions to American literature. Read morePublished on July 4 2012 by John Kwok
Leslie Marmon Silko has created an intensely profound window into the deep undercurrents of American civilization. Read morePublished on April 16 2004
I am a Native American woman, and I found this book empowering, depressing and very raw. I can see people that I know in the characters in the book as well as having had some of... Read morePublished on Oct. 7 2002
Wow, what a concept...we finally have a Native American stream-of-consciousness novel! Enough of these white-man's dreams like The Tunnel or Gravity's Rainbow, we finally are... Read morePublished on Oct. 4 2000 by Zentao
Not nearly as complex as some would like to make it. The "land" interacts with people to manifest its spirits. Read morePublished on Sept. 4 2000 by Zane Ivy
This happens to be one of my favorite books of all time--yes, it's "disturbing", rambling, complex, and shocking. Read morePublished on July 14 2000
I found Silko's book too disturbing to keep on reading. I understand that the disturbing nature of the work is the point of the book, but it was too depressing (and,as another... Read morePublished on April 6 2000
What can I say but I loved this book. Got it because a friend mentioned it and he was not wrong. It is a deep book and one has to concentrate a bit in order to follow all the... Read morePublished on June 11 1999
Anybody who thinks this is merely fiction is mistaken. This is reality, and it is happening as I type. Read morePublished on May 9 1999 by Marc Rikmenspoel