Read Women discussion

Ceremony
This topic is about Ceremony
49 views
Previous Reads: Fiction > Ceremony by Leslie Marmon Silko

Comments Showing 1-18 of 18 (18 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

Anita Fajita Pita (anitafajitapitareada) | 947 comments Mod
This is our discussion thread for our fiction, Published 1970's themed group read of Ceremony by Leslie Marmon Silko (published 1977) as nominated by Hannah.

Ceremony
Tayo, a young Native American, has been a prisoner of the Japanese during World War II, and the horrors of captivity have almost eroded his will to survive. His return to the Laguna Pueblo reservation only increases his feeling of estrangement and alienation. While other returning soldiers find easy refuge in alcohol and senseless violence, Tayo searches for another kind of comfort and resolution. Tayo's quest leads him back to the Indian past and its traditions, to beliefs about witchcraft and evil, and to the ancient stories of his people. The search itself becomes a ritual, a curative ceremony that defeats the most virulent of afflictions—despair.(Goodreads)

Leslie Marmon Silko
Leslie Marmon Silko (born Leslie Marmon; born March 5, 1948) is a Native American writer of the Laguna Pueblo tribe, and one of the key figures in the First Wave of what literary critic Kenneth Lincoln has called the Native American Renaissance. (Goodreads)


Anita Fajita Pita (anitafajitapitareada) | 947 comments Mod
I started this. It was a little slow going at first, but I've become quite invested in Tayo's story that's clearly about PTSD and how he is afflicted as a Native American soldier. Not only that, but how his cultural roots lend to all the aspects of how he is treated before, during, and after his service in the military - as well as how he will (hopefully) eventually begin to heal. I am less than halfway through, so I can't speak to that yet.


Hannah | 465 comments I have started too, I found it a little confusing at first being told from the perspective of someone with PTSD as the timeline is very disjointed. But the language is beautiful, some of the sentences feel like they are physically stabbing me in the chest with sadness. It is really interesting to read about how he is treated in the reservation because of his mixed origins. I'm seeking the healing powers of nature myself at the moment so I'm really looking forward to finding out how this story progresses


Claire (clairemcalpine) | 107 comments I read 'Ceremony' in May 2019 after reading my first book by Leslie Marmon Silko, her brilliant, evocative memoir The Turquoise Ledge: A Memoir. If you're seeking the healing powers of nature Hannah, follow up 'Ceremony' with her memoir. I came to 'Ceremony' already having an appreciation for how deeply connected she was to to the Arizona desert, its landscape, wildlife and climate. And so wasn't surprised that this novel, written while she living in Alaska became a refuge for her, a way of returning to that other place she so deeply missed, and not just the place, but the people and the storytelling, thus awakening those missing parts of her in the novel.

I went on a bit of a binge read after that, reading also the wonderful short collection of letters The Delicacy and Strength of Lace: Letters Between Leslie Marmon Silko and James Wright and her novel Gardens in the Dunes. I still have a book of essays Yellow Woman and a Beauty of the Spirit: Essays on Native American Life Today and Storyteller to read.

Ceremony, I now understand to be the most well-known of her works, but I highly recommend her other books and her memoir for a full appreciation of the incredible gifts of this astonishing writer.


message 5: by Anita (last edited Aug 05, 2020 10:46PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Anita Fajita Pita (anitafajitapitareada) | 947 comments Mod
Claire wrote: "I read 'Ceremony' in May 2019 after reading my first book by Leslie Marmon Silko, her brilliant, evocative memoir The Turquoise Ledge: A Memoir. If you're seeking the healing powers ..."
It's rare to find an author that leads to a binge, but such a pleasure when we do. Thank you for the recs!


Claire (clairemcalpine) | 107 comments Anita wrote: "Claire wrote: "I read 'Ceremony' in May 2019 after reading my first book by Leslie Marmon Silko, her brilliant, evocative memoir The Turquoise Ledge: A Memoir. If you're seeking the ..."
Sometimes we stumble across an author by chance (I was looking for a gift for a friend, specifically nature writing set in or near Tucson, Arizona which lead me to the memoir) and then get taken on a journey, having discovered a gem.


Hannah | 465 comments Thanks for the recommendation Claire I have orderedThe Turquoise Ledge: A Memoir to read whilst I am in Scotland, it sounds perfect.

I am about half way through Ceremony now and I'm completely absorbed. The writing is beautiful, I can feel Tayo's sadness, pain and loss. I can now see why the author chose to write in the non-linear style which I found confusing at first. It adds to the atmosphere and gives a sense of the confusion and lack of grounding that Tayo is experiencing because of his trauma. Once I learned to let go a little I came to like the way the narrative flits back and forth in time to gradually reveal what happens to the various characters and I feel compelled to continue reading to find out more. I also love the snippets of traditional storytelling we are given here and there and the deep respect for nature instilled in these tales


message 8: by Joelle.P.S (new) - added it

Joelle.P.S | 7 comments I'm hoping to start this book this weekend. Then I'll come back & read your comments more thoroughly. :-)
I also hope to attend this Aug 31st bookclub via Zoom: https://www.facebook.com/events/11281... :-)


Michaela | 295 comments I´ve got it at home, and hope to read it soon! And the Zoom meeting sounds interesting too!


Sophie | 179 comments I've gotten through after taking my time to try and not get overwhelmed by the sadness.
I almost wish I had the opportunity to read this as part of a class so that I could get more out of it.
I found myself highlighting a lot of sections about the white people's destruction of the natural landscape. I think partly because I had just finished reading Barkskins which told the story of how Europeans came to the American continent and literally bulldozed the forests from sea to sea.
My heart broke for Tayo. How much could a man endure and survive with his mind intact?


Michaela | 295 comments I´m not quite halfway through, so hope to finish it soon. As far as I can see, Tayo had a hard life in war and before. Wonder if he finds out of his sad life.


Hannah | 465 comments I feel a great sadness generally about the destruction of and disregard for the natural world. So I felt a connection whilst reading this book and the insights towards the end made me feel quite contented despite this underlying sadness


Anita Fajita Pita (anitafajitapitareada) | 947 comments Mod
Sophie wrote: "I've gotten through after taking my time to try and not get overwhelmed by the sadness.
I almost wish I had the opportunity to read this as part of a class so that I could get more out of it.
I fo..."


I read Barkskins recently too, and I also felt the similarities with the connection with nature. I also agree with you all about the general atmosphere of sadness, though I wouldn't say depressing. The book definitely evokes feelings in the reader. Great writing.


Sophie | 179 comments Yes Anita, sadness is a much better word for the feeling.


Michaela | 295 comments Finished it today, and thought that it was ending positive for Tayo. The ceremony (placed in the middle of the book) obviously helped. I also liked that the novel was interspersed with poems. It wasn´t always easy for me to understand the contents, but I looked up the summary. ;) Thanks also for recommending other books by the author!


message 16: by Carol (new) - added it

Carol (carolfromnc) | 2093 comments Mod
Joelle.P.S wrote: "I'm hoping to start this book this weekend. Then I'll come back & read your comments more thoroughly. :-)
I also hope to attend this Aug 31st bookclub via Zoom: https://www.facebook.com/events/1128..."


How was the Zoom bookclub discussion? Is there anything you learned or processed in it that you have time and interest in sharing?


message 17: by Joelle.P.S (new) - added it

Joelle.P.S | 7 comments Sorry, I really struggled with this book! I gave up at 70% the day before the Zoom bookclub & so didn't attend. :-(
(But the same bookstore's Zoom bookclub re: White is for Witching last week was a really great discussion!)


message 18: by Carol (new) - added it

Carol (carolfromnc) | 2093 comments Mod
Joelle.P.S wrote: "Sorry, I really struggled with this book! I gave up at 70% the day before the Zoom bookclub & so didn't attend. :-(
(But the same bookstore's Zoom bookclub re: White is for Witching..."


oh, no apologies necessary or pressure intended. It's happened to me, including with books I've nominated and where I"m leading a discussion. : ) Very good to know, though, in terms of the quality of the store's bookclub discussions. Thanks again for sharing it.


back to top