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Ravensong Paperback – May 3 2000

4.0 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Press Gang; Seventh Reprint, 2001 edition (May 3 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0889740445
  • ISBN-13: 978-0889740440
  • Product Dimensions: 22.8 x 15.4 x 2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 386 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #118,847 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


"... [a] leading figure in Native literature." -- Vancouver Sun

About the Author

Lee Maracle is one of North America's foremost writers and orators on Aboriginal and feminist issues. A vitally important intellectual and talented novelist, Maracle brings a profound knowledge of contemporary society and her own history to all of her work.

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Customer Reviews

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Format: Paperback
Set in the 1950's, Ravensong is a story of a girl trying to find her place in the world. It is a difficult task as she is divided between the white society that educates her and her own native village.
Stacey, the heroine, feels the changes of approching adulthood as she finishes her last year of high school and prepares to attend university. She struggles with a major epidemic in her community, deaths, and the realization of what she has and does not have. She matures throughout the book, learning to take her power for herself.
Canadian Lee Maracle writes from the perspective of a seventeen year old as though she was still there herself. She captures the confusion and excitement, the questions and the fears experienced by everyone who feels their childhood sliping away.
Maracle provides a critical look at the division of white and native cultures. She also examines such issues such as spousal abuse, literacy, lesbianism, predjudice, and the roles of women in a thought provoking way.
My only criticim was the lack of development of Celia, a lesser character in the novel. Celia starts out with great potential that is never fully realized, and infact, she disappears at some points in the story.
Dispite my criticizm, this book illustrates how you can be loved, smart, brave and driven, but that does not change the fact that life is full of questions and is not always easy.
Ravensong is a short, thoroughly enjoyable read.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Ravensong, Lee Maracle's 1993 novel, is as powerful and meaningful today as it was when it was first published some twenty years ago. It is a beautifully written, at times challenging, story that weaves the past with the present into a moving portrait of a family, a community and a land that has faced and still faces many challenges from within and from outside. Situated in the Northwest of Vancouver Island, Maracle evokes a land where the Raven sings and communicates with Cedar, where the cedar responds with gently swinging its branches and sometimes weeps. It was a fertile land between the ocean and the river, providing for the people with all they needed. Yet, memories of disturbing past events cast long shadows over the people and the natural environment. Myths and stories from ancient times come alive again and again, such as that of the double-headed sea serpent that caused havoc with the minds of the people or the foreigners who arrived with ships... A young girl, deeply lost in thought sitting under the cedar, carries vivid images of those tragic events that contributed to more catastrophes later, traumas that the community has not yet recovered from.

Set in the mid nineteen fifties, the novel is built around an extended multi-generational Coast-Salish family and their community. Their village may seem self-contained and even remote from the bustling urban life, yet "white town" is just across the river and a bridge connects the two communities. Stacey is the only one among her siblings and cousins who attends school in the town. At seventeen she has dreams of continuing her studies at university to become a teacher in her village. She is exposed to a world that doesn't make much sense to her.
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By A Customer on Oct. 15 2003
Format: Paperback
I agree with the other reviewer who rebuts the idea that Celia's narrative is not fullly developed. I think that Lee Maracle did this deliberately. While I don't know Maracle's exact intentions, and can't say whether Celia represents assimilation, I'm pretty sure for a fact that Celia's disappearing narrative is meant to illustrate marginalization - perhaps marginalization of women (especially the women in white town), and most probably marginalization of the Salish community. Similarly, the fragmented nature of the narrative throughout this book represents a feminist challenge to the logo-centric and linear dominance of other forms of literature.
"Ravensong" is a powerful book about what it means to be the marginal "other". It is also a book that gives a little bit of Salish history, and perhaps First Nations history in general. In other words, "Ravensong" especially through the use of the flu (both literal and metaphorical) shows how the natives throughout Canada have been treated by whites. This book also begins to re-appropriate identity through the main character, Stacey. Stacey at first yearns for the material wealth of the whites in white town. She also doesn't value her own culture. But as the book progresses, Stacey begins a transformation. She begns to decolonize her mind, and finally reaches appreciation for where she has come from.
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