Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

IN BRIEF

Fiction

December 15, 1991|Sharon Dirlam

TALKING LEAVES, edited by Craig Lesley (Dell Publications: $10; 385 pp.) Louise Erdrich, M. Scott Momaday and three dozen other contemporary writers, known and new, fill this anthology of Native American short stories with drama, legend and humor. Momaday's "She Is Beautiful in Her Whole Being" tells of the psychic purification that is provided to a man by the combined forces of nature itself, the simple Navajo life, and the ritual of marriage to a superior woman. Erdrich sketches a sort of Indian anti-hero in "The Bingo Van," a young man who learns some hard lessons about character by doing all the wrong things when he's given a choice. After winning a slick new van in a Bingo game, he can't help but notice as he drives off that "looking down on others does something to the human mentality." In her story, "Deer Woman," Paula Gunn Allen combines mythology and modern life. Beth Brant traces the impact of nature in "Swimming Upstream," the tale of a grieving woman who finds inspiration in watching a salmon's struggle to swim against the current. This anthology is an example of how compelling short stories can be that spring from everyday life, that are serious but light, and that offer questions as well as answers.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|