Thea's Reviews > Almanac of the Dead

Almanac of the Dead by Leslie Marmon Silko
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Aug 01, 08

Read in July, 2005

As I've re-read this book twice, and regularly go back and read some of my favorite parts, I'm having trouble remembering what it was like reading it the first time around. It is a devastating portrait of the violence, greed, and moral corruption of colonization, making it often extremely difficult to read (there are several scenes of sexual violence that I skip when I re-read it). However, the violence is never, ever frivolous, rather, it feels like Silko demands that her readers bear witness to the full truth and horror of colonization so that we can begin to envision transformation. I think it can be very difficult to deeply and honestly portray alienation without wallowing in it or obscuring other options (granted, I think a lot of writers probably don't see other options). However, Silko infuses a very deep hope throughout the book. Her hope is not even for the characters she creates; rather, it is for a sense of justice that exists in a spiritual realm, and, as Silko has said, the anger of the earth. There's also an essay in "Yellow Woman and a Beauty of the Spirit" about the process of writing "Almanac", which helped me to more deeply appreciate the book.
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