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Quiet Until the Thaw
by Alexandra Fuller


Overview - The debut novel from the bestselling author of Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight and Leaving Before the Rains Come .

Lakota Oglala Sioux Nation, South Dakota. Two Native American cousins, Rick Overlooking Horse and You Choose Watson, though bound by blood and by land, find themselves at odds as they grapple with the implications of their shared heritage.  Read more...


 
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More About Quiet Until the Thaw by Alexandra Fuller
 
 
 
Overview
The debut novel from the bestselling author of Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight and Leaving Before the Rains Come.

Lakota Oglala Sioux Nation, South Dakota. Two Native American cousins, Rick Overlooking Horse and You Choose Watson, though bound by blood and by land, find themselves at odds as they grapple with the implications of their shared heritage. When escalating anger toward the injustices, historical and current, inflicted upon the Lakota people by the federal government leads to tribal divisions and infighting, the cousins go in separate directions: Rick chooses the path of peace; You Choose, violence.

Years pass, and as You Choose serves time in prison, Rick finds himself raising twin baby boys orphaned at birth in his meadow. As the twins mature from infants to young men, Rick immerses the boys in their ancestry, telling wonderful and terrible tales of how the whole world came to be and affirming their place in the universe as the result of all who have come before and will come behind. But when You Choose returns to the reservation after three decades behind bars, his anger manifests, forever disrupting the lives of Rick and the boys.

A complex tale that spans generations and geography, Quiet Until the Thaw conjures the implications of an oppressed history, how we are bound not just to immediate family but to all who have come before and will come after us, and, most of all, to the notion that everything was always, and is always, connected.

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780735223349
  • ISBN-10: 0735223343
  • Publisher: Penguin Press
  • Publish Date: June 2017
  • Page Count: 288
  • Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.6 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.9 pounds


Related Categories

Books > Fiction > Literary
Books > Fiction > Native American & Aboriginal
Books > Fiction > Historical - General

 
BookPage Reviews

A quietly powerful story of two lives intertwined

In the shadow of Wounded Knee, the characters in Alexandra Fuller’s debut novel strive to make, force or find their way. Life on South Dakota’s Pine Ridge Indian Reservation reads as both humorous and heartbreaking in Quiet Until the Thaw. Rick Overlooking Horse and You Choose Watson are cousins, bound by shared ancestry and blood, but little else. Rick grows to appreciate and revere the ways of the land of his people, the Lakota Oglala Sioux Nation; You Choose turns his back on the Rez and all it would teach him.

Fuller says much in few, well-chosen words, like the quiet Rick Overlooking Horse himself, who left the Rez to serve in Vietnam and came back burned in body but resolute in spirit. Winding through seminal events from the 1940s to the 2000s, Fuller muses on the nature of time itself, how it circles and returns, how cycles repeat themselves. You Choose wanders north, returns, becomes tribal chairman and then loses it all in a fit of rage. Rick finds his home in a meadow, tends wild horses, befriends buffalo and, late one night, becomes the caretaker for twin baby boys. A couple, Le-a Brings Plenty and Squanto, help raise them.

A nonfiction writer and memoirist, Fuller writes unhurriedly and with an economy of expression that is nonetheless evocative. Her characters’ lives and motivations—from You Choose and Rick to their guardian Mina; from Le-a and Squanto to the twin boys Jerusalem and Daniel—aren’t fully realized, but what is explored paints a vivid picture. As they search for belonging and meaning, every piece of the slowly unveiled story helps fill in the complicated puzzle of their relationships. You Choose’s and Rick’s paths meet time and time again until one last encounter, when the path of one becomes the path of the other in their seemingly fated intersection. Fuller writes: “Since all things are connected, always and for all time, there is no avoiding reunion.”

This article was originally published in the July 2017 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

 
BAM Customer Reviews