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By Leslie Silko, Larry McMurtry

ISBN-10: 1440621829

ISBN-13: 9781440621826

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Example text

Distances and days existed in themselves then; they all had a story. They were not barriers. If a person wanted to get to the moon, there was a way; it all depended on whether you knew the directions—exactly which way to go and what to do to get there; it depended on whether you knew the story of how others before you had gone. ” But they had been wrong. Josiah had been there, in the jungle; he had come. Tayo had watched him die, and he had done nothing to save him. Tayo was sitting under the elm tree in the shade when Harley came riding up on the black burro.

He finds, as do soldiers in all wars, including the current one, that going home is terribly hard. Neither Tayo nor his home is the same. In Tayo’s homeland a mine has been dug in a sacred area, a violation of nature that disturbs him deeply. Evils have been unleashed, witches have increased in power, and the indigenous people are more vulnerable than ever to spiritual and physical defilement. Tayo, like the wisest of his people, turns for protection to the tribe’s saving stories. The stories help the people move from imbalance and disorder back to a kind of balance, the balance that comes from the accuracy and depth and beauty of the stories.

When the corn was gone, the mule licked for the salt taste on his hand; the tongue was rough and wet, but it was also warm and precise across his fingers. Tayo looked at the long white hairs growing out of the lips like antennas, and he got the choking in his throat again, and he cried for all of them, and for what he had done. For a long time he had been white smoke. He did not realize that until he left the hospital, because white smoke had no consciousness of itself. It faded into the white world of their bed sheets and walls; it was sucked away by the words of doctors who tried to talk to the invisible scattered smoke.

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Ceremony by Leslie Silko, Larry McMurtry

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