Marissa's Reviews > Almanac of the Dead

Almanac of the Dead by Leslie Marmon Silko
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's review
Apr 16, 2008

liked it
Read in May, 2008

This book is as dazzling as it is dense.It's ripe with history, mythology, interesting characters and steamy sex.

Readers who enjoy action movies will like this. Curiously, so will those interested in the "alternate history" literature that's so popular now. Also, it's very rich in cultural mythology, which I'm finding very interesting

Although I am thus far enjoying it, it's not one I'd like to nominate for Oprah's audience...It's themes are intensely ambitious. Silko is not only refusing to present readers with any sort of romantacized or idealized version of Native American culture, but rather very harshly critiques all cultures, including her own. The lives it depicts in fiction aren't far from the convoluted inner workings of some of the indigenous movements here in the Americas (the Zapatista, AIM, etc.) nor from the "cultural elite" who rot in their penthouses in the monuments of Western civilization.

Many readers will find the violence and sex in the novel not just gratuitous, but downright sickening. Infanticide, bestiality, torture, cannibalism, autopsies, illegal organ harvesting-it's all here, often described in minute, clinical detail. Bear in mind, however, that Silko is making a critique of the cultures that produce these deviants.

It might not be an "easy" read, but it is certainly an engaging one, and a well-crafted one. Highly recommended.

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