Green Grass Running Water

Thoughts Green Grass Running Water by Thomas King, HarperCollins 1993/HarperPerennial 2007, 431 pages

MOTIVATION for READING:   My dear friend KB recommended this as one of her favorites and I had never heard of it.   And then! Eva reviewed it with glowing ‘must-read‘ which I could have sworn was in all caps but as I link to it, I guess I must have read it in my mind in all caps.   Go figure…   How could I not read it?   I bookmooched it.

WHAT’s it ABOUT:   Well, it’s hard to explain.    Let’s see…  there are these four very old (ancient even) Indians who have escaped from their (locked) care-facility and they only seem to do so when a major catastrophe happens. At the same time, we have a story unfolding and re-folding and folding onto itself before getting restarted all over again. And there’s water, lots of water. Puddles forming and sweeping away cars. We’ve got coyotes and a narrator named “I”, and women swimming around and meeting interesting characters that merge mythology and North American history and Biblical tales and even a few literature* icons. And the story begins again. Sort of. If I’ve confused you, trust me when I say that Thomas King pulls it off with clever wit and skilled sentence, paragraph and chapter construction.

I remember being told it was funny. It’s not that it is full of jokes, but it IS comic. A subtle clever comedy that, as Eva says, it QUIRKY. It’s just delightful, really.

Wait!  There’s even more layers and overlapping! ANOTHER story line involves a Canadian Native American college professor named Alberta who wants to have a baby but would prefer not to marry either of the two guys she is dating. And few more fun characters from the reservation and we all meet up at the Sun Dance. And by ‘all’, I mean every character and story line – they collide/merge. I’m right now wondering how I kept it all straight and I’m bungling this review, but trust me again – it’s a fun ride.

WHAT’s GOOD:      The construction of the story is amazing from a technical standpoint and believe-you-me, that is not my forte to discuss. I love love love the portrayal of all the women – their strengths in times of trouble, their wisdom. The men could come off looking pretty pathetic and yet, they don’t really.  SO MUCH TO THINK ABOUT AND ADMIRE!!!! Grand sweeping theme(s)?   YES.

WHAT’s not so GOOD:     As I sit here and think about this part of my review-format and not coming up with anything, I now feel I must attempt to defend my ONLY four pie slice rating. Why not FIVE? I don’t know. Just one more book that I can appreciate as masterful but won’t be able to gush obsessively as a best-I’ve-ever-read. But it could be. Throw away the silly ratings and just consider this a GREAT READ.

FINAL THOUGHTS:       I heartily recommend this and it would be a fun one to discuss for the Women Unbound Challenge, a Canadian Reads Challenge, a Mythology Challenge, a Native** American Reading Challenge, etc etc***.  Is the What’sInAName Challenge seeking titles of ‘body of water’?  Would this count for that?

RATING: with extra whipped cream.

Eva at A Striped Armchair (I’m really not trying to stalk her)

Aarti at BookLust 

sorry!  I had trouble linking to more!   Please check this search engine for more reviews…

* Softdrink!   You know with all this water, that there is a reference to Moby Dick, right??!   hee hee

** Without meaning to, I happened to read four books this year with Native American (with two Canadian) themes:     Alexie’s Absolutely True Diary…, Boyden’s Through Black Spruce, Marshall’s nonfiction Little Bighorn, and this.

*** Please enjoy the Novel Challenge blog to find all reading challenge descriptions.


13 thoughts on “Green Grass Running Water

  1. GGRW…….ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh, one of my all time favorites. I really should reread it again. (I’ve already read it 10 times, but that’s what happens when it’s the primary book for your grad thesis.)

    It’s a wonderful story that is appreciated so much more when it’s over.

    Love, love, love it.

  2. This sounds fascinating. I love books with complex plots that are difficult to explain, so long as they aren’t boring, and this one doesn’t sound like it is.

    I know what you mean about really really liking a book but being reluctant to give it 5 stars (or slices of pie in this case). I’ve read several like that this year. There’s just that little something that keeps it from making the best books I’ve ever read list.


  3. historyofshe

    Sounds good to me! My brain kinda hurts from trying to understand what it’s about, but it’s just one of those read and your shall find out! Something I will definitely be doing! Dontcha just love when one book carried over so many different challenges?!?!

  4. I’ve had this on my wishlist since Eva’s review, too, and now I really want to read it! I know what you mean about not being able to articulate why a certain book gets a particular rating; that’s why I took the ratings off my blog. Don’t like explaining myself!

  5. You can stalk me anytime! 😀

    Sometimes I give books four stars but can’t point to why, except that I didn’t finish it and want to run around telling everyone I know to read it now! So I get that. 😉

    And I was just like you; while I was reading the book, I didn’t have problems following the plot. But trying to review it and summarise the plot is a whole different story! lol

  6. I’m not quite sure what to make of this one, but I’ll take your word for it on the awesome part. Sounds like I’ll just have to read it and find out for myself, you definitely have me intrigued.

  7. always win

    Sometimes it’s really that simple, isn’t it? I feel a little stupid for not thinking of this myself/earlier, though.

  8. Pingback: Diversity in Fantasy « Care's Online Book Club

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