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How a Mountain was Made
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By Greg Sarris
In the tradition of Calvino’s Italian Folktales, Greg Sarris, author of the award-winning novel Grand Avenue, turns his attention to his ancestral homeland of Sonoma Mountain in Northern California. In sixteen interconnected original stories, the twin crows Question Woman and Answer Woman take us through a world unlike yet oddly reminiscent of our own: one which blooms bright with poppies, lupines, and clover; one in which Water Bug kidnaps an entire creek; in which songs have the power to enchant; in which Rain is a beautiful woman who keeps people’s memories in stones. Inspired by traditional Coast Miwok and Southern Pomo creation tales, these stories are timeless in their wisdom and beauty, and because of this timelessness their messages are vital and immediate. The figures in these stories ponder the meaning of leadership, of their place within the landscape and their community. In these stories we find a model for how we can all come home again. At once ancient and contemporary, How a Mountain Was Made is equally at home in modern letters as the ancient story cycle. Sarris infuses his stories with a prose stylist’s creativity and inventiveness, moving American Indian literature in a new and emergent direction.
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