Chancers : A Novel
Booklist Monthly Selections - #2 September 2000
Vizenor, Professor of Native American Literature and American Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, combines scholarship and fiction in this latest volume in the American Indian Literature and Critical Studies series. This novel deals with the repatriation and resurrection of American Indian remains from the University of California's Phoebe Hearst Museum of Anthropology by a group of students called Solar Dancers. Possessed by a mythic demonic monster, the Solar Dancers sacrifice faculty and museum administrators and exchange their skulls for those of Native Americans. The resurrected Indians become the Chancers. The humane and erotic Round Dancers battle the Solar Dancers all the way to a graduation ceremony where the reader meets Pocahontas, Phoebe Hearst, anthropologist Alfred Kroeber and others, and hears from members of both dancer groups with names like Token White, Bad Mouth, Touch Tone, Fast Food, and Fine Print. Not a traditional western by any standards, but a valuable and accessible look at Native American issues. --Budd Arthur Copyright 2000 Booklist Reviews
LJ Reviews 2000 August #1
In this darkly comic and satiric novel, academics in the Native Studies Department of the University of California are being sacrificed in the name of Native remains repatriation, their skulls exchanged for Native bones to let the spirit chancers (resurrected Natives) return. Demons and tricksters, solar dancers and round dancers, irony and victimization, death and eroticism all do battle in the department, leading to a graduation conflagration, complete with guest appearances by Pocahontas and the spirit of a bawdy hand puppet. Vizenor (Native American literature and studies, Univ. of California, Berkeley; Griever: An American Monkey King in China) weaves together characters from his other novels, along with shamanism and the works of Samuel Beckett, to capture the dilemmas of modern Native life without succumbing to rage or despair. Sexy, violent, and bitingly funny, this book is not for everyone, but readers of Tom Robbins looking for another author will want to give this a try as will anyone interested in fiction that doesn't play it safe. Ellen Flexman, Indianapolis-Marion Cty. P.L. Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.