Be omnivorous, don't just read one kind of book, read everything. - Richard Wagamese

Friday, July 22, 2011

Review: Green Grass, Running Water by Thomas King

Publisher: Harper Perennial Canada
Source: Personal Copy

Green Grass Running Water was a great read. I'm not sure if this is for everyone, but I certainly appreciated it. The book has a great balance between humour and real life struggles for Natives today. King introduces his readers to many main and supporting characters, all of whom are struggling with life as a Blackfoot in modern Canada. The characters are trying to blend into modern day culture but also feel compelled to maintain their heritage. As much as they try to ignore their culture, it is always with them. There are many quirky characters. We have Alberta who is a university professor, with two boyfriends, refuses to get married and desperately wants to be a mother. Oh, yes the boyfriends are cousins and know about each other. Charlie is a prominent lawyer, and Lionel a television salesman. We are also introduced to Latisha who is a restaurant owner, and pretends to serve up dog meat to her customers. It seems to attract tourists. 

Lone Ranger, Ishmael, Robinson Crusoe and Hawkeye have run away from an institution and have vowed to fix part of the world. These four storytellers frequently interrupt each other, and blend Native American tales with Christianity in an attempt to get it right. Ahdamn meets first woman. The telling if this new creation story is hilarious. 

"Ahdam is busy. He is naming everything. 

You are a microwave oven, Ahdamn tells the Elk. 
Nope, says that Elk. Try Again. 
You are a garage sale, Ahdamn tells the Bear. 
We got to get you some glasses, says the Bear. 
You are a telephone book, Ahdamn tells the Cedar Tree. 
You're getting closer, says the Cedar Tree." 

The stories keep juggling around, and each time I keep waiting to get back to the character I just read about however, the next character is just as entrancing. King explores the Native American culture in a Christian world. This humourous book deals with many serious issues within the Native American culture. All in all, I really enjoyed it.


  1. This sounds good. I think it's extremely difficult to straddle cultures like that.

  2. Good to hear that this one came through with a good laugh. It makes it personable and very relatable to read about cultural experiences with humour. Of course it has to be tactful without overstepping the boundaries of stereotyps. A very fine line but one that this book seems to have crossed with good intentions.

  3. This one sounds perfectly quirky and enjoyable - I love the excerpt you included!