This is a textbook example of what I’d call magical realism. On the one hand, it’s a story about the mining of uranium in the Southwest, and the health effects it had on the miners.
But there’s more to this story, and Bruce weaves it together with the myths and legends of the native peoples. The meat of the tale is about people, beaten down by the materialistic and greedy society around them, learning to let go of their linear conceptions of time and to embrace a cosmic, cyclical view of life.
This all sounds a bit esoteric, I’m sure. And it is, but Bruce makes it understandable and relatable. With just a few sentences, I could empathize with his characters, and it was a pleasure to join them on what ultimately becomes a story of healing.
This book is definitely in the same mold as Bruce’s novel Oblivion, about a sort of commune built in the desert, around motifs of nature and healing. Like Tolkien and so many of the greats, Bruce loves his native landscape and deplores its destruction by modernity.
It’s funny; I think everyone knows, deep down, that there’s something wrong with the annihilation of nature to make way for more technology, more artificial and unwholesome modes of life. And yet no one can stop it. Like Leonard Cohen sang: “Everybody knows the war is over. / Everybody knows the good guys lost.”
Still, it’s never too late to heal, and the best time to start is always now. Quite apart from being a commentary on society, or an exploration of ancient legends, the book is about people coming to terms with their own mortality, and making peace with it.
This is a small book; but it contains massive ideas. I highly recommend it.
Thank you for reviewing this story. Sad to note that Hank has been diagnosed with cancer of blood plasma that’s spread to his spine. He beginning treatment soon.
Oh, I’m so very sorry to hear that. All the best wishes to him and his family.
That’s awful, Patrick. Hank is in my thoughts as he begins treatment.
“no one can stop it” … this is exactly true. Humanity in a race against technology. A race it cannot win.
Makes me wonder why we insist on running the race. 😐
Magical realism that includes myths and legends of native people, sounds like a book I’d enjoy. Shall definitely add it to my good old TBR list 😊 Thanks for bringing yet another interesting sounding book to my attention.
My pleasure; hope you enjoy it. 🙂
I love magical realism and am adding this to my TBR. It sounds great.
I think you will like it! 🙂