The Reason for Crows: A Story of Kateri Tekakwitha

The Reason for Crows: A Story of Kateri Tekakwitha

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Author: Diane Glancy

Publisher: Excelsior Editions (2009)

In The Reason for Crows, award-winning author Diane Glancy continues her project begun in Pushing the Bear: A Novel of the Trail of Tears and Stone Heart: A Novel of Sacajawea. Imagining the interior voice of Kateri Tekakwitha, Glancy relays the story of the young, seventeenth-century Mohawk woman who would later become known as the "Lily of the Mohawks." Left frail, badly scarred, and nearly blind from a smallpox epidemic that killed her parents, Kateri nevertheless takes part in the daily activities of her village—gathering firewood, preparing meals, weaving, and treating the wounded after skirmishes with the French and enemy tribes. When the Jesuits arrive in her village, she receives their message and converts to Christianity. In this imaginative and poetic retelling, Kateri's interior voice is intertwined with the interior voices of the Jesuit missionaries—the crows—who endured their own hardships crossing the ocean and establishing missions in an unfamiliar land. Together, they tell a story of spiritual awakening and the internal conflicts that arise when cultures meet.

"Diane Glancy is a storier of native remembrance at the verge of history. The Reason for Crows is an inspired first person memoir of Kateri Tekakwitha, the daughter of a Christian mother and a Mohawk Chief. Kateri was touched by the Jesuits and `set apart by God.' Pockmarked by smallpox and orphaned as a child in the late seventeenth century, she comes alive in the emotive voice of an eminent literary artist, a particular union of native spirits and God."

–Gerald Vizenor