Brennan’s picks: Green Grass Running Water

Green Grass, Running Water by Thomas King.

“One of the first things you pick up listening to or reading Thomas King is that he was born to tell stories. Even on the page it feels like he’s speaking a world into existence. I trust him to tell a great story which is why I stuck with this one even though for the first 50ish pages I hadn’t the foggiest clue what was happening. If you like your plots linear this is NOT the book for you.

We get the story from an unknown narrator as he tells the story to Coyote, the trickster of plains nations folklore, however, the narrator is also being narrated to by the 4 Old Indians. These supernatural beings each represent a character from indigenous oral traditions and in the telling of their stories there is a kind of mash-up blending with Judeo-Christian and western literary traditions.These tales are, at once, hilarious and a devastating critique of settler colonialism. The work of a master storyteller.

So, the Old Indians escape from a mental institute and with Coyote in tow begin making their way to the fictitious town, on Blackfoot Territory, of Blossom, Alberta. It seems they’ll have to fix the world…again. Often fixing the world is really about helping to fix people and the Blackfoot folks we meet in and around blossom could use a little help. Alberta Frank is a university professor who wants a baby but not a man which is bad news for her current lovers, cousins Charlie and Lionel who both want her. Lionel’s uncle Eli could use a hand as well. He’s the last man left opposing the damming of a river crucial to his people. Everything is coming to a head at the annual Sundance and with Coyote lending a paw things could go any way.”

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