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Winter Counts Audio CD – Unabridged, 25 August 2020
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Audio CD, Audiobook, CD, Unabridged
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- ISBN-13 : 978-1094167503
- Product Dimensions : 14.61 x 3.18 x 14.61 cm
- ISBN-10 : 1094167509
- Publisher : HarperCollins; Unabridged Edition (25 August 2020)
- Language: : English
- Customer Reviews:
About the Author
David Heska Wanbli Weiden is an enrolled citizen of the Sicangu Lakota Nation and received his MFA from the Institute of American Indian Arts. He's a MacDowell Colony Fellow, a Tin House Scholar, and the recipient of the PEN/America's Writing for Justice Fellowship. He lives in Denver, Colorado.
Darrell Dennis is a native Canadian comedian, actor, screenwriter and radio personality from the Secwepemc Nation in the interior of British Columbia. In addition to acting and comedy, Darrell is a writer whose works have been published by Playwrights Canada Press and Douglas & McIntyre Publishing. His short stories have been published in periodicals across Canada and the U.S. His first play, Trickster of Third Avenue East, was produced by Native Earth Performing Arts, which twice named Darrell their "Writer-in- Residence." His semi-autobiographical one-man play, Tales of an Urban Indian, in which he explored themes of growing up as an indigenous First Nations Native American, was nominated for two Dora Awards and has been produced for multiple tours across Canada and the United States
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and a search for his native heritage. A well written, paced and plotted story with intriguing characters and some solid current and historical information on the conditions that native peoples live with in the USA. No surprise, as with most marginalized groups, they are without the political, financial and educational
resources to improve their lives. And so it goes...
The visceral opening grabbed me and never let go. Don’t pick up this book unless you’ve got a clear calendar for at least 24 hours-you will NOT be able to put it down, or stop thinking about it for even longer.
The bad thing is its slavish adherence to crime-fiction tropes, including one of the hackiest of hack moves in the genre — the convenient sympathy-inducing but somehow super-empowering gunshot wound to the shoulder. There’s no surer sign that an author has written themselves into a corner and can’t find a non-clichéd, non-contrived way out.
The good thing is its rare and authoritative window into the world of American tribal reservation culture and politics. If I'm going to sit through a familiar story, all I ask that it be about an unfamiliar culture and and an unfamiliar setting, and teaches me something new and worth knowing as a result. WINTER COUNTS did that and then some.
Among the takeaways that will stick with me:
— A lot of major crimes go unprosecuted and unpunished on reservations because the white-led federal government has jurisdiction over all felonies there, but often declines prosecution because of a murky combination of institution complacency and complacent racism. As a result, anything bigger than a minor theft or smaller than murder or drug dealing is almost guaranteed to go nowhere in the legal system.
— The above scenario gave rise on the reservations to the use of professional vigilantes, hired by fellow tribe members to exact one form of justice where formal justice has been denied. Virgil Wounded Bear, the hero of WINTER COUNTS, is one such animal, engaged to administer beatings to men who committed crimes like sexual assault or bullying. And learning to live with the fact that despite his necessity, he will be necessarily looked down upon in nominally polite society as a result:
“'Virgil, what do you do?'
"I hated that question. It was such a white way of looking at the world, that a person is judged by their job, not their character."
— While it's well-known that white men have been cheating and betraying Indians as long as the two skin colors have come into contact, it's not as well-known that Indians, even of the same tribe, will screw each other — just as any group of people will — if given enough power and enough lack of oversight. A lot of that is driven by the rampant prejudice within the tribe, between full-blooded Indians and Indians with white or other ethnic blood. A lot of the cruelty is driven by an incestuous sense of overfamiliarity with a tribal individual's abilities, deestinies and familial origins carried along what author David Heska Wanbli Weiden calls "the moccasin internet."
Of particular interest was the subplot about a few members of the tribe in this story trying to wean the others off what the author calls "frybread culture" — basically a complacent fast-food diet that has become so ingrained in tribal society that it's all but impossible to get them to embrace a healthier and more indigenous diet — say, of bison meat and locally grown crops — even when it tastes better.
I enjoyed WINTER COUNTS, at least until its cliché-addled action finale, which was a tad too dependent on suspiciously convenient timing and other tiresome genre contrivances. It deserves much of its flood of critical praise, though I can't help but think it's been overpraised as one of the year's best in a spasm of white guilt in literary circles. It's pretty good with that extra gear I mentioned, but "great"? That may be taking things too far. Great crime novels shoot shoulder wounds in the face.