Winner of the Before Columbus Foundation's American Book Award
With the captivating rhythm of an oral storyteller, this tale spun by a weyekin, or spirit guide, describes a Nez Perce family's struggle to keep their souls and still fit into the white world. . . . Dream and reality often overlap in the course of the tale, as the weyekin appears in the guise of an ally, sometimes aiding, sometimes complicating Pal's search. But the story remains grounded in the full-bodied reality of all the characters, with Pal especially endearing. As he's drawn into quirky, sexy, and often very funny circumstances, the reader gets a glimpse of the real cost of cultural adaptation.
Penn creates a novel satirizing Californian mores as it balances personal, soulful dreams against that big one: the American dream.
The theme of Killing Time with Strangers, in which a young man of mixed blood tries to balance his Native American heritage with the white world in which he lives, is a familiar one. What sets this novel apart is its fresh approach. . . . A pixy and humorous tale, so much a part of the art of the traditional Native American storytelling.
Penn's deft and delicate prose moves us easily through real and magical worlds.
An entrancing, timeless novel. It's a work whose social observations subtly upset what some think they know about the Native American experience. Not only that, it just might teach you how to dream.