GARDENS IN THE DUNES by Leslie Marmon Silko
A Novel

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A sweeping, multifaceted tale of a young Native American pulled between the cherished traditions of a heritage on the brink of extinction and an encroaching white culture, Gardens in the Dunes is the powerful story of one woman's quest to reconcile two worlds that are diametrically opposed.

At the center of this struggle is Indigo, who is ripped from her tribe, the Sand Lizard people, by white soldiers who destroy her home and family. Placed in a government school to learn the ways of a white child, Indigo is rescued by the kind-hearted Hattie and her worldly husband, Edward, who undertake to transform this complex, spirited girl into a "proper" young lady. Bit by bit, and through a wondrous journey that spans the European continent, traipses through the jungles of Brazil, and returns to the rich desert of Southwest America, Indigo bridges the gap between the two forces in her life and teaches her adoptive parents as much as, if not more than, she learns from them.

About Leslie Marmon Silko

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Leslie Marmon Silko was born in 1948 to a family whose ancestry includes Mexican, Laguna Indian, and European forebears. She has said that her writing has at its core "the attempt to identify what it is to be a half-breed or mixed-blood person." As she grew up on the Laguna Pueblo Reservation, she learned the stories and culture of the Laguna people from her great-grandmother and other female relatives. After receiving her B. A. in English at the University of New Mexico, she enrolled in the University of New Mexico law school but completed only three semesters before deciding that writing and storytelling, not law, were the means by which she could best promote justice. She married John Silko in 1970. Prior to the writing of Ceremony, she published a series of short stories, including "The Man to Send Rain Clouds." She also authored a volume of poetry, Laguna Woman: Poems, for which she received the Pushcart Prize for Poetry. In 1973, Silko moved to Ketchikan, Alaska, where she wrote Ceremony. Initially conceived as a comic story abut a mother's attempts to keep her son, a war veteran, away from alcohol, Ceremony gradually transformed into an intricate meditation on mental disturbance, despair, and the power of stories and traditional culture as the keys to self-awareness and, eventually, emotional healing. Having battled depression herself while composing her novel, Silko was later to call her book "a ceremony for staying sane." Silko has followed the critical success of Ceremony with a series of other novels, including Storyteller, Almanac for the Dead, and Gardens in the Dunes. Nevertheless, it was the singular achievement of Ceremony that first secured her a place among the first rank of Native American novelists. Leslie Marmon Silko now lives on a ranch near Tucson, Arizona.
Published April 30, 2013 by Simon & Schuster. 482 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense. Fiction

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During travels with the Palmers back east and abroad (climaxing with their viewing, in an Italian village, of a cache of carved stone “fertility figures”), Indigo’s “education” acquaints her with such alien commonplaces of white culture as sexual irregularity and hypocrisy, Christianity’s strong ...

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Publishers Weekly

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soon Indigo and Sister Salt are captured and separated, and Indigo is sent to school in Riverside.

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Austin Chronicle

Gardens in the Dunes traces the journey of Indigo, a young member of the Sand Lizard tribe who spends her childhood in her tribe's ancestral gardens in the mountains in Arizona until she is separated from her sister and sent off to a school to learn to be white.

Jul 07 2000 | Read Full Review of GARDENS IN THE DUNES: A Novel

Project MUSE

If they had taken them to Hermosillo, as Silko would have it, the Mexican Rural Mounted Police, the infamous Rurales, would have been waiting for them just across the border, because there were spies in Tucson watching Yaqui activities and reporting to the Mexican military and the Rural Police.

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