Cover image for Ravenshadow
Blevins, Winfred.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Forge, 1999.
Physical Description:
448 pages ; 22 cm
General Note:
"A Tom Doherty Associates book."
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Joseph Blue Crow, chosen to continue the traditons of his people, the Sioux, instead lives a life of decadence, until he begins to realize that to fulfill his destiny, he must return to his roots.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Blevins tells the story of Lakota Indian Joseph Blue Crow's unique midlife crisis, which leads to a journey--both geographical and spiritual--to save his soul. The narrative slips neatly back and forth between the 1990s and the 1890s without the least bit of confusion. Blue has managed to get himself fired from his radio disc jockey job; he's too drunk to do himself any good with Sallee Walks Straight; and he's totally confused about who he is, who he was supposed to be, and who he yet might become. That's when his friend Emile Gray Feather talks to him about "goin' on the mountain" --returning to the old ways, to his cultural roots, and rediscovering the path he was meant to follow instead of the oil-slick road to perdition down which he has willingly strayed. Blue finds himself, but the reader finds even more in Blevins' tales of Lakota lore and his reexamination of one of the darkest episodes in American history. Blevins' prose is razor sharp, his characters are clearly defined, and his heart, like so many, is at Wounded Knee. An outstanding novel. --Budd Arthur

Publisher's Weekly Review

Best known for Stone Song, his vivid, lyrical novel of the life of Crazy Horse, Blevins here introduces Joseph Blue Crow, a 1990s Lakota Sioux who calls himself a Great White Doubter. Narrator Joseph feels he is red on the outside but white on the inside ("I thought the white way was the way, and the red way should get left behind"). Although born a full-blooded Sioux and raised on the reservation, Blue is poised to escape his destined poverty when he gets away to college, where he discovers booze, basketball and girls. Succumbing to the temptations of the white culture, he discards his Indian heritage, his family and friends. His experiences as a young man in Seattle are harsh, as he encounters overt racism, but it is his black girlfriend's suicide and the almost simultaneous death of his grandmother that prompt him to return to the reservation, feeling a traitor to himself and his people. By 1990 he is 40, divorced, an alcoholic disk jockey on a blues radio station in South Dakota. Finally compelled to seek peace by a friend and a spiritual vision of a raven, Blue immerses himself in Sioux tradition, turning to the sweat lodge and the sacred pipe. His quest culminates in a pilgrimage, the annual Big Foot Memorial Ride, which commemorates Wounded Knee, the bloody event the whites call a battle, but the Sioux call a massacre. En route, with the help of a medicine man, Blue's spirit is transported to that bitter cold day in 1890 when the Seventh Cavalry fired on a village of starving SiouxÄincluding some of Blue's own ancestors. His soul is redeemed by his difficult vision, though the journey may be painful for the reader. Blevins's bleak tale of a man caught between two cultures lacks the balance and grace of Stone Song, but it presents a solid indictment of how even today the white world oppresses and persecutes Native Americans. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved



Ravenshadow PART ONE Blue Is Lost Blue Introduces Himself     M itakuye oyasin --We are all related, we are all one. Mitakuye oyasin --those are the words we use to end all our prayers, we Lakota, the ones you call Sioux. I'm telling you this story to teach it to myself. You can call me Blue. My full name is Joseph Blue Crow. It is one of my names. I am the man of many names. I am the man of more than one voice, more than one language, more than one culture. I am the man you do not know, do not want to know, cannot permit yourself to know. To see me is to feel the cold beneath the shadow of the Raven's wing. Look at me. Here I stand before you, a buffalo bull of a Lakota Indian, six and a half feet tall and up toward three hundred pounds. My skin is dark, my hair blue-black, and I wear it in one long braid. I look like I belong in another world, any other world, not yours. Will you listen to my story? You must listen very carefully. I set out on a journey to save my soul. Maybe I will save it. And maybe, as my witness, you can save yours. Copyright (c) 1999 by Win Blevins Excerpted from Ravenshadow by Win Blevins All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.