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The Ancient Child [Paperback]

N. Scott Momaday
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
Price: 8.38 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: HarperPerennial; 1st HarperPerennial Ed edition (30 Sep 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060973455
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060973452
  • Product Dimensions: 20.3 x 13.6 x 2.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 286,559 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Synopsis

Based on an Indian myth about a boy who turns into a bear, this mystic novel concerns a young artist who confronts his unusual destiny with the aid of the beautiful medicine woman who loves him.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
His mind is the atelier.
The depicted soul of the young woman, Grey, Koi-ehm-toya, was hauntingly perfect. Entwined with notoriety, she grew to an assured love, preserving the heart of a Kiowa man, Loki. Man or mythological God? Distant, the sublime power draws into the solar plexis of humanity, and remains. As if two souls, autoecious azygos, encompassed all characters; Kope'mah, the grandmother earth, 'anomalous cohesion and disintegration of form...motion...color at once.' 'A timeless rejoicing entered into their veins...', (pg35), Grey the elements within, water and root, '"You are Set-angya, the chief of dog soldiers...best of warriors, of battles...enemies."', (pg258), 'Here are weeds about his mouth...', (pg234), the elements above earth, air and fire, introspection and preparation create a watercolor backdrop. Grey, '...a question of control, coordination, mastery: how to bring her body and the body of the horse into concert...', (pg185), eradicated, effectively, Billy the Kid, from the vines of youth, and those who harmed her bodily nature; with hoyden grace.
J. Jaederland (shack@concentric.net)
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5.0 out of 5 stars How fantasy mixes with reality 18 Jan 1997
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
I love this book. It's my favorite by Momaday. The main female character, Grey, is strong and fascinating: "Set remained curious about Grey - Grey had taken hold of his imagination..." (pg 69). Grey also has all sorts of daydreams that affect her 'real' life, and her 'real life' has some very strong affects on those she meets. It's a great book!
Oh, and then there's the main male character - Set, an artist who has a breakdown that gets him back in touch with family and heritage (and Grey). But Grey is my favorite.
For more info on reviews & stuff about this book, visit:
[...]
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  9 reviews
34 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful and beautiful novel about the American West 1 Feb 2002
By L. Barden - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Momaday, as you probably know, won the Pulitzer Prize in 1969 for his first novel, "House Made of Dawn." In that book, the hero, torn between the Native American world and modern America, and deeply affected by his Vietnam war experiences, finally disintegrates, unable to continue fighting the forces trying to destroy him.
Twenty years later, Momaday published his second book, "The Ancient Child," and it's just as powerful, just as beautifully written, as his first.
The premise is similar to the first book. A man is torn between two worlds, tormented by nightmares, and finds himself drawn to the desert. He finds his destiny, and it too is disintegration. But whereas the disintegration in "House Made of Dawn" is a violent, tragic event, in "The Ancient Child" it comes across as a process of spiritual resolution and healing, rather than destruction.
That's why I regard this book as superior to its Prize-winning predecessor. Momaday's vision seems more holistic, more encompassing in this book. His first novel's tragic vision leaves you haunted and a little horrified. This book will leave you equally haunted, not in horror, but in quiet awe of the inevitable metaphysical reckoning we all must undergo when we leave this world, and the paths we take to get there.
Read it.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Beautiful and Poetic Art of Identity 17 April 2009
By Geoffrey R. Tourville - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
The Ancient Child by N. Scott Momaday, copyright 1934, ISBN 0-385-27972-8, and published through Doubleday, is a story about the crisis of identity and one man and woman's struggle to discover their true selves. Written as four books, The Ancient Child explores the undeniable tie to identity and the discovery of how the soul truly exists.

There's an enlightening quality to the novel that leaves the reader with a deeper understanding of the major themes and how these ideas of identity, feminism, land, and languages are tied to a true identity. By working through two separate characters, Set and Grey, who struggle with the same identity crisis, the reader is able to perceive the intricacies of such an issue and the unique ways in which a person must find and establish who they are. The Ancient Child is truly a masterful work that combines the sweet poetic language of a dream world with ruthless punches of reality to create a story that can resound through the hearts of readers across generational and cultural boundaries. Through the use of Spanish, Navajo, and Kiowa words, phrases, myths, and traditions, the reader becomes embroiled in the world of Momaday and the depth of the lives of these struggling characters. The beauty of the world that surrounds these characters is often eclipsed by their desperation for a true and whole identity and the harshness of their realities. Delicately portrayed and profoundly thought provoking, The Ancient Child is truly a work of art.

If you're searching for a book that will challenge your perceptions of reality and introduce you to a world where myth, legend, dreams, and fantasy still hold a powerful sway, then The Ancient Child is a must read. The Ancient Child is excellent for any reader, college age or above, who is searching for an intellectual challenge and a gateway to a world interweaved with the words of Native languages. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this powerful, beautifully articulated work to anyone and would gladly pursue the text again and again.
9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stupid story, magnificent writing. 8 May 2010
By Robin H. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This story read at times like literary soft porn, a wet dream for the middle-aged man who has lost all sense of meaning in life. Hey, wouldn't it be great to just be saved by a gorgeous, sex-loving 19 year old whose entire mission in life is to support your spiritual unfoldment? Oh please. The hot chick, the sex scenes, ridiculously gratuitous. And how long (and how many times) can we linger on the female character's perfect curves, her stunning violet eyes (ok, nobody really has violet eyes, especially not a native american). Story-wise, this is basically the equivalent of a Harlequin romance, but for men. Just plain silly.

OK, that said, this is definitely in my top three all-time novels in terms of sheer beauty of prose and poetic vision. It's so stunning in parts, I cannot even take a single star away from it. I am still utterly confounded by the fact that such devastatingly beautiful passages can go into writing an ultimately silly story. I have no explanation. It just is.
11 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How fantasy mixes with reality 18 Jan 1997
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I love this book. It's my favorite by Momaday. The main female character, Grey, is strong and fascinating: "Set remained curious about Grey - Grey had taken hold of his imagination..." (pg 69). Grey also has all sorts of daydreams that affect her 'real' life, and her 'real life' has some very strong affects on those she meets. It's a great book!
Oh, and then there's the main male character - Set, an artist who has a breakdown that gets him back in touch with family and heritage (and Grey). But Grey is my favorite.
For more info on reviews & stuff about this book, visit:
[...]
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful, odd, and genre-bending 2 April 2013
By Kind Reader - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
N. Scott Momaday is one of the most celebrated in the first wave of the Native American Renaissance. His highly acclaimed novel, House of Dawn, won a Pulitzer in 1969, and Momaday's narration bring gravity and lyrical elegance to the Ken Burns documentary on The West. Momaday spent much of his career as an academic and was properly considered one of the elder statesman in the flowering of Native American literature. This book, though attached to Kiowa and Navajo tales (and the legend of Billy the Kid), is an erotic, lyrical, mythic fever-dream and completely absorbing. The central character is called to rebirth and renewal in unexpected and entirely appropriate mythic fashion, transforming himself, the novel, and the reader in the process. This is one of the books I read again and again.
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