FIVE STARSAt the heart of Almanac of the Dead is Seese, a haunted, enigmatic survivor of the fast-money, high-risk world of drug dealing--a world in which the needs of modern America exist in a dangerous balance with Native American traditions. In Tucson she encounters Lecha, a well-known psychic hiding from the consequences of her celebrity, whose larger duty is to transcribe the ancient, painfully preserved notebooks that contain the history of her people--the Almanac of the Dead.
A many-layered narrative unfolds to tell the tragic story of the clash of civilizations.
"Those who can't learn to appreciate the world's differences won't make it. They'll die."This was Games of Thrones, meets Breaking Bad, with engaging, graphic and enlightening prose. The book consists of snapshots into a slew of diverse and broken characters, who realize how ruthless life can be. This is dense and long (763 pg's the longest novel I've read), but that didn't diminish the wonderful experience of reading this book. At the core of this is the idea being reinforced over and over again that we must remember and know the history of our people. In America Native American history in school isn't taught and Christopher Columbus continues to be regarded as a hero. This book is a a step in the right direction, because it starts the conversation with the unflinching truth about the Native American genocide.
Alot of criticism of this novel talks about homosexual characters being portrayed as evil. But at I was reading I thought that was a unfair characterization. Every character was more nuanced than good or evil. There were some graphic and disturbing scenes which involved rape and molestation, but the author clearly wants you to be uncomfortable. The point is that your comfort is taken away, so you can better relate to the turmoil and ugliness described in the novel.
There is wonderful insights and thoughts that challenge the reader to look at things they may be used to turning away from. The spiritual connection that has been lost to the earth is a reoccurring theme, but did not come off as preachy at all. Religion is used to manipulate and profit. Characters are betrayed, lost and grasping for hope where they can. I was emotionally reminded of things that this book didn't directly address, but the intimacy described is relateable for everyone.
"The ancestors had called Europeans the 'orphan people' and had noted that as with orphans taken in by selfish or coldhearted clanspeople, Few Europeans remained whole."I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to experience an educational, engaging, and powerful glimpse into a different culture. My book club, didn't finish the book when we met on account of the length, but we all took memorable and important lessons from it. The ending seems unfinished, but it's not. This book makes you recognize and experience the power of stories, and made me immensely grateful.