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Green Grass Running Water Tpb Paperback – Deckle Edge, Aug 16 1999

4.1 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial; 1 edition (Aug. 16 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0006485138
  • ISBN-13: 978-0006485131
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 3 x 20.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 422 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #17,808 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Fresh, inventive, funny and intriguing, this latest novel from King ( Medicine River ) is an imaginative exploration of contemporary Native American culture. The plot revolves around the escape from a mental hospital of four very old Indians called Ishmael, Hawkeye, Robinson Crusoe and the Lone Ranger. These, however, are no ordinary natives. They may be the last survivors of the Indians interned at Fort Marion in Florida in the 19th century. Or perhaps they are the first human beings, as described in tribal creation myths. Their repeated breakouts--37 to date--have coincided with disasters: the 1929 stock market crash, the eruption of Mt. St. Helens, etc. Their mission this time brings them into the lives of an eccentric Canadian Blackfoot family: Lionel Red Dog, who sells TV sets and has no ambition; his sister Latisha, who owns a restaurant that bilks thrill-seeking tourists by purporting to serve them dog meat; Uncle Eli Stands Alone, a former university professor who is determined to prevent the operation of a dam on Indian land; and Charlie Looking Bear, a smarmy lawyer who works for the company opposing Eli's cause. Wavering emotionally between Lionel and Charlie is Alberta Frank, who dates both of them and wants a baby but knows that neither man is husband material. King, a professor of Native American studies at the University of Minnesota, skillfully interweaves Native American and EuroAmerican literatures, exploring the truths of each. He mixes satire, myth and magic into a complex story line that moves smartly from Canada to Wounded Knee to Hollywood, and to a place beyond time where God and the native trickster, Coyote, converse. With this clever, vastly entertaining novel, he establishes himself firmly as one of the first rank of contemporary Native American writers--and as a gifted storyteller of universal relevance. Author tour. (Mar.) .
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

King's auspicious debut novel, Medicine River ( LJ 8/90), garnered critical acclaim and popular success (including being transformed into a TV movie). This encore, a genially wild tale with a serious heart, confirms the author's prowess. It involves the creation of a creation story, the mission of four ancient Indians, and the comparatively realistic doings of 40-year-old-adolescent Lionel Red Dog, unfazable cleaning woman Babo, and various memorable Blackfoot and others in scenic Alberta. Clever verbal motifs not only connect the stories but add fun visual themes, including missing cars and a ubiquitous Western movie. In the end, everyone is thrown together by an earthquake at white human-made Parliament Lake, compliments of the four old Indians and the loopy trickster Coyote. Smart and entertaining, this novel deserves a big audience. Essential for public libraries.
- Janet Ingraham, Worthington P.L., Ohio
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
... I'd make them all read this book. I discovered it in my Native American Fiction class during my senior year at Yale, and in my four years as a literature major, I'd never read anything better. Thomas King is a genius. He is also, according to my professor, a man-- a fact that my entirely female class refused to believe after reading the brilliantly satirical reworkings of phallocentric myths and legends that he intersperses throughout the book. His characters are hilariously and achingly real; his prose transcends the written word in its effortless use of oral storytelling methods. If you're still reading my stumbling attempts to convey the brilliance of this book, please stop immediately and buy it. Buy a few copies, because you'll want to share this with your friends, and they won't want to give it back.
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Format: Paperback
This is a great romp. King has an almost Wodehousian sense of comic coincidence, but with a subtler and rarer touch. Although it is a hilarious book, the discovery of yet another connection between the novel's converging story lines is just as likely to elicit an 'ah ha' as a belly laugh. It's funny, but humor is applied with some depth.
King pokes fun at his characters and their foibles, but he always does it with a certain sense of reverance. "Tomorrow, he would begin to floss." he says of one character when at the age of 40 he decides to finally do something meaningful with his life. It takes courage in a post modern, politically correct world, but maybe laughing with someone about their own cultural baggage is a sincere and accessible form of respect.
I have to point out that from a Christian perspective, parts of the book could be viewed as sacrilegious. Although they are the heroes of the book, perhaps some aboriginal Americans would also consider his reworking of mythological stories as being inappropriate--I cannot say. I choose instead to interpret this in cultural instead of religious terms. One of the major themes of the book is the oppressiveness of western cultural imperialism and its affect on the remaining indigenous population. Its hard to do that without taking a poke or two at the religion that has so frequently been used as an excuse for non-religious cultural and economic activities.
King is insightful and droll--no gender, race, or occupation is completely safe from his biting wit and sense of the absurd. A review on the book cover describes his similarity to Twain, and I think the comparison is apt. Like Twain, the dialogue is snappy, colloquial and believable. The story is funny, engrossing and challenging. I think Twain would have liked it and recommended it. I do too.
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Format: Paperback
Once upon a time, I thought I hated all things to do with Canadian literature. Sick to death of Atwood's vitriol and endless coming of age stories, I had given up all hope for Canadian writing in general. Enter Thomas King. Now, I wouldn't say this book is some kind of personal favourite, nor is it a book I love and can never be without. What it is, however, is a solid work. Thomas King is a skilled writer, who weaves multiple plots and mythical tales together seamlessly without losing the reader. What I thought was going to be a confusing book ended up being an easy and enlightening read that made me look at my own paradigm on a deeper level. Not something I would normally purchase (this was for a class in Modern Canadian Literature), but a surprisingly enjoyable work.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Without doubt Thomas King is the secret and wickedly clever twin of Salman Rushdie. Green Grass, Running Water is my introduction to this master of magic realism, and what an introduction it has been.

In the first third of the novel I realized bedtime reading this novel should not be (echoes of Yoda there), because the narrative, weighted heavily toward sharp, incisive dialogue, required a reader fully awake, engaged and firing on all cylinders. (Warp 9, Number One!)

By the second third I realized I needed to rein in the rapid-fire narrative and set about reading as though I were a beginner, pausing on each word, each phrase, because without that sort of careful consideration I would be sure to lose the avalanche of nuance Thomas King wields with careless, effortless abandon.

Dear god I wish I could write like that!

The novel abounds with metaphor, both subtle and sledge-hammer: the four elders who are escapees from a home for the mentally challenged, who assume the identities of Ishmael, Robinson Crusoe, The Lone Ranger and Hawkeye. There are the derelict cars Nissan and Pinto, one red, one blue; the puddle become lake that follows both vehicles; the lone cabin at the bottom of a dam which is known to be flawed and has yet to work; a woman seeking motherhood but not a husband; an appliance salesman seeking freedom; Coyote and Old Coyote attempting to narrate the genesis story.... I could go on. But the mind stutters and pauses and seeks breath. And even with all these seemingly disparate stories, King weaves the threads together into a lustrous cloth.

This is a rich, lavish, humorous and irreverent novel that will change the way you think about story-telling and the world in general.

Highly recommended. But read when you're completely awake!
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