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Ledfeather [Kindle Edition]

Stephen Graham Jones
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description


After burning up the blacktop in New Mexico with The Fast Red Road and rewriting Indian history on the Great Plains with The Bird is Gone, Stephen Graham Jones now takes us to Montana. Set on a Blackfeet Indian reservation, the life of one Indian boy, Doby Saxon, is laid bare through the eyes of those who witness it: his near-death experience, his suicide attempts, his brief glimpse of victory, and the unnecessary death of one of his best friends.


But through Doby there emerges a connection to the past, to an Indian Agent who served the United States Government over a century before. This revelation leads to another and another until it becomes clear that the decisions of this single Indian Agent have impacted the lives of generations of Blackfeet Indians. And the life of Doby Saxon, a boy standing in the middle of the road at night, his hands balled into fists, the reservation wheeling all around him like the whole of Blackfeet history hurtling towards him.


Jones’s beautifully complex novel is a story of life, death, love, and the ties that bind us not only to what has been, but what will be: the power of one moment, the weight of one decision, the inevitability of one outcome, and the price of one life.



Product Description

Review

"Stephen Graham Jones's "Ledfeather" unfolds like an automobile accident in slow motion. The novel's moments of drama expand continuously and seamlessly to include the historical past and to prefigure the present. He writes with a compelling sense of omnipresent danger and the fragility of human survival, and the reality he creates is riveting."--Barry Lopez

About the Author

Stephen Graham Jones is the author of five novels, including the award-winning FC2 novels The Fast Red Road and The Bird is Gone, and one award-winning short story collection, Bleed Into Me. He teaches fiction at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 288 KB
  • Print Length: 216 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1573661465
  • Publisher: Fiction Collective 2; 1st Edition edition (15 Jun. 2009)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00EF0NSKK
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
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  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Reaching across time 16 May 2013
Format:Paperback
This is a very peculiar book. It tells not one, but two stories.
One story is about Doby Saxon, a boy on the Blackfeet reservation. A boy slowly sliding down a decline, and willing to go that way. And the second story is about Frances Delimpere, an Indian Agent who lived in the same place some 150 years before Doby. It's the story of how these two young men come in contact, of how their lives so far apart (and for so many reasons) finally touch, redeeming one another.
Lives that reach out across time is maybe not a new idea, but I like the way the author use it his own way, in a particular place - the reservation - that seems to have a power of its own.

The style Jones chooses to tell this story is also very peculiar. Especially in the first half, he plays with the point of view in a way that creates maybe some confusion (at least until you don't sort it out) but helps bringing down the walls we're used to have around us when we read a story, the same way he will then bring down the walls of time.

Still, I think I could have enjoyed the book even better if the style hadn't be so odd. In a way, it felt mannered and that sort of created a barrier between me and the story. Jones' voice is also very unusual, which is not a problem in itself. I got used to it after a few pages. But combining unusual point of view with unusual voice made it for a hard read in places. The middle part of the story, which is quite dreamlike, was particularly hard for me, not because I found it difficult to follow, but because it seemed to go round and round and never come to the point. I honestly think the book could have been shorter and not lose anything.

In spite of this, I'm still curious about this author and I think I'll try others of his stories.
I enjoyed the acknowledgements a lot. I know this sounds strange, but there I heard his voice clearer than in the story... maybe because it was less stylized?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Haunting, touching, and steeped in lore. 8 Oct. 2011
Format:Paperback
Stephen Graham Jones has a voice that transcends time and play. This journey back and forth between two different Blackfoot Indian histories is both an archive and a comment on today. This story sucks you in from the beginning, sprinkled with letters that may or may not ever have been mailed, and ends with a revelation and bit of magic takes this novel to a whole other level. The mythology and lore in here is captivating, shocking, and touching in its scope. I always enjoy Stephen's work, and this is one of his best.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars  9 reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A near-perfect novel from one of the most original voices in contemporary literature 17 Oct. 2008
By Roger - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
"Ledfeather" represents a breakthrough for author Stephen Graham Jones. It is his most perfect novel to date, exceeding even the brilliant "All the Beautiful Sinners." An overreaction? Perhaps. My strong reaction to this novel may have more to do with my growing understanding and appreciation of SGJ's prose in general rather than the story told in "Ledfeather." Most likely it's a combination of both.

Reading SGJ is challenging. His books do not make for easy reading. And thank you, Stephen, for that. Casual readers who gravitate to the bestseller list would probably not get past the first few pages of "Ledfeather" (or "All The Beautiful Sinners" and particularly not "Bird Is Gone: A Manifesto"). And what a shame, for the rewards to the reader who takes on the challenge are many.

I forgot who said it, though I suspect it was not just one individual, but reading is an active (as opposed to passive) activity. Reading someone like Dan Brown is akin to watching Zoolander (a movie I admit I like more than I should). Reading Stephen is more like watching a film by Bergman or Lynch or Tarkovsky, for example. And these three directors are typically not grouped together. The point I'm trying to make is that, like all great literature and film, the experience affects everyone differently, but it does affect them, not just entertain them. Meanings and linkages that are not readily apparent upon initial reading creep into the reader's minds later -- sometimes days, weeks or months later.

"Ledfeather." The novel opens with a blank page save a single sentence: "I remember you." Perfect for so many reasons, which, again, man not resonate until well after the last page is read. The main character -- Doby Saxon -- is SGJ's most memorable character to date. When he sits in the snow by the side of the road and begins to read Dalimpere's letters, written ages ago, the author begins a narrative-transition device that seems so simple at first. But the transition that SGJ pulls of is so subtle and effective that you almost forget about Doby altogether after the first few letters. Claire. Claire. God how he (Dalimpere) must have hurt. His torment is almost tangible. The slow slide into madness (or is it just uncaringness?) is breathtaking. And then the eventual return to Doby's world and THAT NIGHT. Again, perfect.

I admit I didn't "get" SGJ's earlier novels. But that's a poor way of expressing what I'm trying to say. Sure, "Bird Is Gone: A Manifesto" confused the heck out of me, and "All the Beautiful Sinners" remains the most complex "thriller" I have ever read. But when I finished both of those books, I didn't know exactly how I felt. Certainly not dissatisfied, and not necessarily confused, but... something else that I hadn't felt after concluding any other novel.

As I've stated elsewhere, SGJ's language or voice or whatever you want to call it -- it takes time to appreciate, like a fine wine. At least it did for me. But now I feel I've broken through partially, and the connections are slowly revealing themselves. This makes me want to to revisit those novels again (and "Demon Theory" and "Bleed Into Me: Stories," too). And also to finally take "The Fast Red Road: A Plainsong" off the shelf and give it the reading it deserves (the sole novel of this author that I have yet to tackle).

"Ledfeather" deserves wide recognition, and should be a contender for one of the many literary awards. It's that good. Unfortunately I think the majority of mainstream readers will never know about this magical book. But that is their loss, and should not be yours.

Thank you, Mr. Jones, for sharing these words with us. I don't know how autobiographical any the story was, but I can't help but feel I understand you a tiny bit more now. I also realize this is patently false, as I firmly believe that it is impossible to truly understand anyone except yourself (and even that is exceedingly difficult), particularly through a work of fiction. But still, I like to kid myself that maybe it is possible if the stars are aligned. And maybe that's what "Ledfeather" does for me.

Highly recommended.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Like a sheetrock razor to your wrist. 18 Aug. 2008
By Christopher Deal - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
In what is either his latest or second-latest novel (see 'The Long Trial of Nolan Dugatti), Stephen Graham Jones' 'Ledfeather' is a powerful piece of prose, a work that burns into your mind. Concerning the young and luckless Doby Saxon, his suicide attempts and the whole of the Blackfeet people, Jones weaves a connection from the past right to Doby's pitiful existence, to the redemption he seeks. Beautifully written, 'Ledfeather' is Stephen Graham Jones most poignant work to date, and is highly recommended. Transcending genre, culture, this is a work about guilt and redemption.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Novel that Travels Through Time. 23 Nov. 2013
By A. Wilson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Ledfeather is another excellent work by Stephen Graham Jones. Although it begins abruptly, it will stay with you to the end and beyond.

Ledfeather, is a story of survival, but also a story of identity. A young Native American teen, Doby Saxton tries to discover his true identity outside the boundaries of the reservation that he lives on. Doby soon discovers that his identify is more complex than he thought. The novel is more complex than I thought it would be when I started to read this. I’m sure that we are all familiar with novels that expand upon the identity of a character over a given amount of time, however, Ledfeather is different. Jones quickly embeds another seemingly unrelated plot line into the novel, the inclusion of an Indian Agent 100 years before Doby. Through the struggle of the Indian Agent Dalimpere, readers start to understand the challenges that Doby encounters in his own time. It really makes you wonder if all struggles are eternal.

The plot itself is easy to understand despite the various folds, and incongruities that occur throughout the novel. The effect is there not to be flashy, but instead to make you think ‘outside of the box’. Sure, these tropes come up time and time again in modern fiction, however, Jones skillfully crafts Ledfeather into a novel that has great storytelling inside of a greater artistic medium; the novel. Outside of the plot line, the novel is a journey in itself. It changes in real time while reading it. For example, an event that took place earlier in the novel can suddenly come back with a bang in later chapters. Things that don’t seem significant at the beginning will suddenly become clearer near the end of the novel. The best part is that you don’t have to scrutinize the novel for meaning. You just have to be willing to read it, and think about it while reading.

This novel is so much more than identity and survival. Ledfeather will surely challenge you, but will also reward you for reading it at the same time. If you are not sure about buying or reading Ledfeather I would encourage you to do so. Sure, it’s a difficult read, but it’s a read that will give you a heightened sense of clarity with regards to fiction written in this decade, and also a greater awareness of Native American writers. While reading this novel, the writers heritage will not even be an issue. Ledfather is honest, and also rooted in reality. By the end of the novel, you will start to question just how much of what you read is real, and just how much that reality matters in the end. Sometimes struggle is worth it. In the case of Ledfeather it surely is.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars To Run Alongside a Literary Master 19 Aug. 2008
By CandleFaces - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I've thought this for some time now, - verily, whenever I inhale, skim or touch one of his works - but it must be written somewhere, anywhere, so why not here: existing now, alongside Jones, and reading his copious literary releases just as they're released, is to run alongside a literary master as he elbows the profligacy of independent authors and literary experimentalists away, galloping toward some wide, critically lauded level where he so rightly belongs. If it never happens, it is to be considered a crime against the reading public.

Ledfeather is astounding.

To see the features of the narrative face eventually figured into some logical, natural, glorious countenance bespeaking significance, utter significance, is an event with the wherewithal to rend me from that place where I'm a reader, reading, and lay me gently unto where the experience is inextricable from me. Astounding, just astounding.

The narrative sprawls through time and viewpoints, all of them congealing into a markedly succinct tale, one with the narrative that simply reaches in order to encapsulate the emotional quality, the characterization, the poetry in the vernacular and in the mundane, packing its cheeks with threading that, at times charmingly matted and lackadaisical, forms a consummate and beautiful tapestry.

Ledfeather is a dormant beast that, from the first page, rises toward full volume, length, glory.

For a man in no want of potency in his work, this is his most potent book.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Haunting, touching, and steeped in lore. 8 Oct. 2011
By Richard Thomas - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Stephen Graham Jones has a voice that transcends time and play. This journey back and forth between two different Blackfoot Indian histories is both an archive and a comment on today. This story sucks you in from the beginning, sprinkled with letters that may or may not ever have been mailed, and ends with a revelation and bit of magic takes this novel to a whole other level. The mythology and lore in here is captivating, shocking, and touching in its scope. I always enjoy Stephen's work, and this is one of his best.
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