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Blue Ravens
Historical Novel
Gerald Vizenor

2014 • 300 pp. 6 x 9"
Historical Fiction / Fiction - Native American

$18.95 Paperback, 978-0-8195-7645-3
$27.95 Hardcover, 978-0-8195-7416-9

$14.99 Ebook, 978-0-8195-7417-6

Check your ebook retailer or local library for ebook availability.

Readers of this emotionally wrought, finely crafted historical novel will likely feel a sense of satisfaction from meeting fascinating people and learning much about the Anishinaabe. But they will also... [continued in Reviews below]”—Karl Helicher, ForeWord

Two Native American brothers serve as soldiers in World War I

Gerald Vizenor weaves an engrossing historical portrayal of Native American soldiers in World War I. Blue Ravens is set at the start of the twentieth century in the days leading up to the Great War in France, and continues in combat scenes at Château-Thierry, Montbréhain, and Bois de Fays. The novel contains many of Vizenor’s recurrent cultural themes—the power and irony of trickster stories, the privilege of survivance over victimry, natural reason and resistance. After serving in the American Expeditionary Forces, two brothers from the Anishinaabe culture return to the White Earth Reservation where they grew up. They eventually leave for a second time to live in Paris where they lead successful and creative lives. With a spirited sense of “chance, totemic connections, and the tricky stories of our natural transience in the world,” Vizenor creates an expression of presence commonly denied Native Americans. Blue Ravens is a story of courage in poverty and war, a human story of art and literature from a recognized master of the postwar American novel and one of the most original and outspoken Native voices writing today. Check for the online reader’s companion at

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Reviews / Endorsements

“Readers of this emotionally wrought, finely crafted historical novel will likely feel a sense of satisfaction from meeting fascinating people and learning much about the Anishinaabe. But they will also be left in melancholy knowing that not much has changed about reservation life during the last century.”Karl Helicher, ForeWord

“Historical novels about Native Americans in World War I are few and far between. This is one such rare book. It speaks to the importance of traditions and the trickster archetype without romanticizing these oft-appropriated symbols. Refusing to give in to a mentality of victimization, Blue Ravens tells an intriguing story while keeping hold of the realities of love, war, traditional culture, and life.”Nota Benes, World Literature Today

“What I want to say about this book is a picture. You’ll see it too, and for a long time after.”—Stephen Graham Jones, author of The Bird Is Gone

“Narrated by Basile Hudon Beaulieu, a native storier from the White Earth reservation, and intensely focused on Basile’s brother, Aloysius, a prolific painter of ‘blue ravens,’ Gerald Vizenor’s ‘historical novel’ follows the Beaulieus through their service at some of the bloodiest battles of World War I in France, and then to Paris after the War has ended, where they participate in many an evening with the likes of Picasso, Braque, and Matisse. Returning home to Minnesota’s White Earth Reservation, these indigenous cosmopolitans find that things have both changed and remained the same—leading them to return to Paris where they achieve recognition as a writer and a painter. In all of Vizenor’s extensive oeuvre, I know of no richer, deeper, and more intensely rendered book, ironies notwithstanding, than Blue Ravens. This is powerful work by a master at the very height of his form.”—Arnold Krupat, professor emeritus, Sarah Lawrence College

“Blue Ravens provides a shift into a global world that does more than include Native characters—it’s centered around those characters. We see the Beaulieu brothers not just in scenes of war and homecoming but also in cafes and parks with other artists and writers. What happens in France is as important in this book as what happens on the White Earth Reservation, and the events, the stories, overlap in ways that surprise and have resonance.”—Toni Jensen, author of From the Hilltop

GERALD VIZENOR is a prolific novelist, poet, literary critic, and citizen of the White Earth Nation of the Anishinaabeg in Minnesota. He is Professor Emeritus of American Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. His novel Griever: An American Monkey King in China won the American Book Award and the New York Fiction Collective Award.

Fri, 9 Nov 2018 09:33:21 -0500