Karyl's Reviews > Zeke and Ned

Zeke and Ned by Larry McMurtry
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Aug 03, 2010

really liked it
Read from July 23 to August 02, 2010

I really enjoyed this novel of the interplay between the Cherokee world and that of the white man after the Civil War. Zeke goes on trial for the accidental shooting of a woman, but it is during that trial that chaos erupts when the relatives of the dead woman's husband attempt to take the law into their own hands. Ned, Zeke's friend and Keetowah brother, becomes embroiled in the whole mess when he kills some of the troublemakers at the trial. It is he, however, that the white man ends up wanting in the worst way because he ultimately decides to renounce the English language and repel every attempt to capture him and bring him to "justice." And of course, the one thing you can't have (in this case, Ned) is the one thing you want most.

I found this novel to be heart-breaking, following along as Ned goes from a happy, funny, engaging man, to a testy, suspicious man who is hunted like an animal -- and brings his sweet wife with him. It makes sense, however; how else would one react in such a situation? I had no idea that Ned Christie was a real man until I looked him up on Wikipedia, though most of the occurrences of the novel (with the exception of the killing of Dan Maples and Ned's ultimate end) are fictional, including his marriage to Zeke's daughter Jewel.

I felt I had to dock this book a star because of its odd construction. Books One and Two are written from a third-person point of view, which is ideal for this story, as the reader is able to get into the heads of various characters. But in Book Three, the authors decide to switch to a first-person narrative from Zeke's point of view. The switch is jarring, and the third book just doesn't flow the same way as the first two. I'd much rather the novel continue in the same way as it was begun. However, this book is still well worth the read.
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