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A yellow raft in blue water
Michael Dorris
Adult Fiction DORRIS

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Veteran narrator Rosenblat displays remarkable vocal versatility in narrating Dorris's cross-generational story of three Native American women in Montana who must come to grips with the past. Divided into three first-person narratives, the book follows teenage Rayona; her mother, Christine; and her grandmother, who both the others call Aunt Ida. Rosenblat gives each a distinct voice, perfectly capturing the youthful yet determined attitude of Rayona and the wizened, sardonic tone of her mother. The syncopated, husky voice she adopts for Aunt Ida, who is said to have a pronounced accent, isn't spot-on, but it isn't distracting either. Ida's story is the shortest of the three, and Rayona's is the longest and most immediate, as the other two are actually monologues that supplement and expand on the events of the first part of the book. Rosenblat ably gives voice to the secondary characters, switching easily from a chummy, awkward priest to the bullying young Foxy Cree, but it is her excellent portrayal of dopey, sweet Sky and world-wise Evelyn, a couple who take in Rayona when she runs away, that serves as an index to the overall quality of this laudable production. (Jan.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

From Library Journal:

Set in the Pacific Northwest, this first novel from the late Native American scholar, is a richly rewarding multigenerational exploration of family relationships. It is divided into three parts, each narrated by a different woman. The first voice belongs to Rayona, the 15-year-old daughter of a Native American woman and an African American father who runs off to Seattle after her father abandons the family in the 1980s. Her mother, Christine, narrates the second part, which takes the story back to the 1960s, and Christine's supposed mother, "Aunt Ida," narrates part three, which goes back to the 1940s. While narrator Barbara Rosenblat makes no attempt to provide anything resembling distinctively Native American accents, she does a fine job of differentiating the narrative voices and projecting the emotional range of the characters. A Yellow Raft is a frequently assigned book in schools, so this recording is sure to be in demand in libraries. Recommended.-R. Kent Rasmussen, Thousand Oaks, CA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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main characters Rayona
Age: 15
African American



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