In a powerful follow-up to his widely acclaimed short story collection, Grand Avenue, Greg Sarris tells a tale about the love and forgiveness that keep a modern American Indian family together.Told from the points of view of a twenty-year-old Pomo In In a powerful follow-up to his widely acclaimed short story collection, Grand Avenue, Greg Sarris tells a tale about the love and forgiveness that keep a modern American Indian family together.
Told from the points of view of a twenty-year-old Pomo Indian named Johnny Severe, his grandmother, Elba, and his mother, Iris, Watermelon Nights uncovers the secrets behind each of these characters' extraordinary powers of perception. Johnny is trying to organize the remaining members of his displaced tribe; at the same time he contemplates leaving his grandmother's home for the big city. As the novel shifts perspective, tracing the controversial history of the tribe, we learn how the tragic events of Elba's childhood, as well as Iris's attempts to separate herself from her cultural roots, make Johnny's dilemma all the more difficult. Gritty yet rich in detail and emotion, Watermelon Nights stands beside the novels of Louise Erdrich, Michael Dorris, and Sherman Alexie as an important work not only in Native American literature, but in contemporary American fiction.
Mothers and daughters, unknown and absent fathers, love, cultural isolation, bigotry--these are the big issues that Sarris wraps his able arms around in this gorgeously written, compelling drama." --New York Newsday
"Fans of Michael Dorris should be excited and reassured by Watermelon Nights that there are other, equally compelling voices in American Indian literature." --San Francisco Chronicle