This month is Native American Heritage Month. To give more light to Native American authors, here are some contemporary novels from Native and Indigenous writers. Some of these stories don’t have any affiliation with Native American lessons or educational purpose. These just happen to be amazing stories written by authors of Native heritage.
Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward
This novel was the winner of the 2011 National book Award for Fiction.
A hurricane is coming to the Gulf of Mexico near the town Bois Sauvage, Mississippi. Esch’s father finally shows concern. He is usually a drunk that is absent. Now, Esch her three brothers are stocking up on food supplies. Being fourteen and pregnant doesn’t help, she can’t stomach enough food. In these twelve days, love is scarce, and the reality of their rural poverty catches up with them.
My Heart is a Chainsaw by Stephen Graham Jones
Jade Daniels is a half Indian outcast in her own town. Nobody wants to associate with her. Even her abusive father and absent mother aren’t in the picture much. the only thing keeping her company and safe are her obsessions with horror movies. With narrations of Proofrock as if its one of those horror movies, suddenly blood is spilling in Indian Lake. Jade starts to predict the plot of this horror and drags the readers into her theories and assumptions. However, there is more. A scared little girl beneath this Jason Voorhees mask. This novel is thought provoking and shows the real fear of this murderous plot as Jade tackles her own challenges.
There There by Tommy Orange
Twelve characters in a Native Community. This novel showcases a chorus of voices in this blight of painful history. It shows contemporary themes, heroism, beauty, and what its like being a Native American in an urban place.
The Removed by Brandon Hobson
The Cherokee myths and history are incorporated in this novel about a fractured family dealing with the death of their son long ago. Fifteen years gone, their son ray ray shot by police. The Echota family has been struggling with their own lives after his passing. Maria is dealing with her husband Ernest’s Alzheimer’s. Their daughter Sonja enjoys solitude while obsessing over every romantic interest. Their son Edgar has fled and turned to drugs. With an annual bonfire coming up, along with the anniversary of Ray Ray’s death. Maria decides to unify the family in honor of his memory. However, the spirit world crosses paths with reality either to help heal or stir them on the wrong path.
Sacred Smokes by Theodore C. Van Alst Jr.
Growing up Native American while in a gang in Chicago is a very hard challenge. This dark compelling novel sheds light on the concerns of overlooked emotions and experiences. It defies all stereotypes with this character. With humor, a hint of inappropriate banter and the urban life experience.
Go explore Native authors and their stories of contemporary creativity.
If you enjoy this article check out our recent article Books You Should Read For Native American Heritage Month !
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