Cover image for Women on the run
Women on the run
Hale, Janet Campbell.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Moscow : University of Idaho Press, 1999.
Physical Description:
178 pages ; 22 cm
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Distributed by the University of Nebraska Press for the University of Idaho Press
Janet Campbell Hale's spare, honest writing and unique realism create haunting worlds reflecting the difficulties of the women's lives in her stories - women on the run. These six stories focus on the transition of cultural roots and a loss of sense of community: women who find themselves involved in one night stands leading to pregnancy in an era preceding abortion, substance abuse or gambling in an effort to flee a harsh life of poverty, and the bitter rejection felt by the aged in a society no longer respecting extended family ties.

Author Notes

Janet Campbell Hale is a member of the Coeur d'Alene tribe of northern Idaho and is also of Cree and Kootenay descent. Hale is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley where she studied law for two years. She has an M.A. in English from the University of California at Davis.

Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

In these six intriguing if uneven tales, young and old Native American women struggle against adversity and often draw strength from their roots. Plucky 79-year-old Claire LaFromme, or "She-Is-Free," the protagonist of the eponymous "Claire," escapes from a hellish nursing home disguised as a man and pawns her jewelry to buy bus tickets back to the reservation. Along the way, she takes courage from her memories of her flight as an eight-year-old from a repressive Catholic mission school. In the charmingly droll "Dora Lee in Love," a young woman rescues a drifter from drowning. When he poses as the man of her dreams, she thinks she's in heaven, but time will prove she's in another place altogether. The ambitious and often perplexing title story meshes two plot lines, one concerning a successful writer whose imagination is in overdrive, and the other dealing with a political fugitive, an Indian activist whose colorful life inspires the novelist to attempt a biography. "Deborah and Her Snakes" (subtitled a "cautionary tale") features a recurring dream that prompts a desperate young mother to gamble, with unfortunate results. Another young mother, in "Alma," resolves to escape the cycle of poverty. When she becomes pregnant after a one-night stand, she has an abortion and gets on with her life. As if to reinforce the feminist message here, Hale appends a fable in which a determined female frog outwits a villainous male coyote. The fierce determination of the Native American sisters in these sometimes rambling but always vivid stories is the quality that makes them appealing. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved