Blue Ravens

Blue Ravens

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Author: Gerald Vizenor

Publisher: Wesleyan University Press (2016)

Gerald Vizenor weaves an engrossing historical portrayal of Native American soldiers in World War I. Blue Ravens is set at the start of the twentieth century in the days leading up to the Great War in France, and continues in combat scenes at Château-Thierry, Montbréhain, and Bois de Fays. The novel contains many of Vizenor's recurrent cultural themes―the power and irony of trickster stories, the privilege of survivance over victimry, natural reason and resistance. After serving in the American Expeditionary Forces, two brothers from the Anishinaabe culture return to the White Earth Reservation where they grew up. They eventually leave for a second time to live in Paris where they lead successful and creative lives. With a spirited sense of "chance, totemic connections, and the tricky stories of our natural transience in the world," Vizenor creates an expression of presence commonly denied Native Americans. Blue Ravens is a story of courage in poverty and war, a human story of art and literature from a recognized master of the postwar American novel and one of the most original and outspoken Native voices writing today.

"Blue Ravens provides a shift into a global world that does more than include Native characters―it's centered around those characters. We see the Beaulieu brothers not just in scenes of war and homecoming but also in cafes and parks with other artists and writers. What happens in France is as important in this book as what happens on the White Earth Reservation, and the events, the stories, overlap in ways that surprise and have resonance."

–Toni Jensen