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About David Treuer
David Treuer is Ojibwe from the Leech Lake Reservation in northern Minnesota. He grew up on Leech Lake and left to attend Princeton University where he worked with Paul Muldoon, Joanna Scott, and Toni Morrison. He published his first novel, LITTLE, when he was twenty-four. Treuer is the recipient of the Pushcart Prize, and his work has been named an editor's pick by the Washington Post, Time Out, and City Pages. His essays and reviews have appeared in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Esquire, Slate.com, and The Washington Post.
He also earned his PhD in anthropology and teaches literature and creative writing at The University of Southern California. He divides his time between LA and The Leech Lake Reservation.
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FINALIST FOR THE 2019 NATIONAL BOOK AWARD
CHOSEN BY BARACK OBAMA AS ONE OF HIS FAVOURITE BOOKS OF 2019
LONGLISTED FOR THE 2020 ANDREW CARNEGIE MEDAL FOR EXCELLENCE
A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
'An informed, moving and kaleidoscopic portrait... Treuer's powerful book suggests the need for soul-searching about the meanings of American history and the stories we tell ourselves about this nation's past' New York Times Book Review, front page
The received idea of Native American history has been that American Indian history essentially ended with the 1890 massacre at Wounded Knee. Not only did one hundred fifty Sioux die at the hands of the U.S. Cavalry, the sense was, but Native civilization did as well.
Growing up Ojibwe on a reservation in Minnesota, training as an anthropologist, and researching Native life past and present for his nonfiction and novels, David Treuer has uncovered a different narrative. Because they did not disappear - and not despite but rather because of their intense struggles to preserve their language, their traditions, their families, and their very existence- the story of American Indians since the end of the nineteenth century to the present is one of unprecedented resourcefulness and reinvention.
In The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee, Treuer melds history with reportage and memoir. Tracing the tribes' distinctive cultures from first contact, he explores how the depredations of each era spawned new modes of survival. The devastating seizures of land gave rise to increasingly sophisticated legal and political maneuvering that put the lie to the myth that Indians don't know or care about property. The forced assimilation of their children at government-run boarding schools incubated a unifying Native identity. Conscription in the US military and the pull of urban life brought Indians into the mainstream and modern times, even as it steered the emerging shape of self-rule and spawned a new generation of resistance. The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee is the essential, intimate story of a resilient people in a transformative era.
On a sweltering day in August 1942, Frankie Washburn returns to his family’s rustic Minnesota resort for one last visit before he joins the war as a bombardier, headed for the darkened skies over Europe. Awaiting him at the Pines are those he’s about to leave behind: his hovering mother; the distant father to whom he’s been a disappointment; the Indian caretaker who’s been more of a father to him than his own; and Billy, the childhood friend who over the years has become something much more intimate. But before the homecoming can be celebrated, the search for a German soldier, escaped from the POW camp across the river, explodes in a shocking act of violence, with consequences that will reverberate years into the future for all of them and that will shape how each of them makes sense of their lives.
With Prudence, Treuer delivers his most ambitious and captivating novel yet. Powerful and wholly original, it’s a story of desire and loss and the search for connection in a riven world; of race and class in a supposedly more innocent era. Most profoundly, it’s about the secrets we choose to keep, the ones we can’t help but tell, and who—and how—we’re allowed to love.
A daring new novel that "may be David Treuer's best book" (Charles Baxter)
He realizes he has discovered a document that could change his life forever.
Dr Apelles, Native American translator of Native American texts, lives a diligent existence. He works at a library and, in his free time, works on his translations. Without his realizing it, his world has become small. One day he stumbles across an ancient manuscript only he can translate. What begins as a startling discovery quickly becomes a vital quest—not only to translate the document but to find love. Through the riddle of Dr Apelles's heart, The Translation of Dr Apelles explores the boundaries of human emotion, charts the power of the language to both imprison and liberate, and maps the true dimensions of the Native American experience. As Dr Apelles's quest nears its surprising conclusion, the novel asks the reader to speculate on whose power is greater: The imaginer or the imagined? The lover or the beloved?
In this brilliant mystery of letters in the tradition of Calvino, Borges, and Saramago, David Treuer excavates the persistent myths that belittle the contemporary Native American experience and lays bare the terrible power of the imagination.
An entirely new approach to reading, understanding, and enjoying Native American fiction
This book has been written with the narrow conviction that if Native American literature is worth thinking about at all, it is worth thinking about as literature. The vast majority of thought that has been poured out onto Native American literature has puddled, for the most part, on how the texts are positioned in relation to history or culture.
Rather than create a comprehensive cultural and historical genealogy for Native American literature, David Treuer investigates a selection of the most important Native American novels and, with a novelist's eye and a critic's mind, examines the intricate process of understanding literature on its own terms.
Native American Fiction: A User's Manual is speculative, witty, engaging, and written for the inquisitive reader. These essays—on Sherman Alexie, Forrest Carter, James Fenimore Cooper, Louise Erdrich, Leslie Marmon Silko, and James Welch—are rallying cries for the need to read literature as literature and, ultimately, reassert the importance and primacy of the word.