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Stories for a Lost Child
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Michigan State University Press
Pub Date: 2017
ISBN: 9781611862447
Carter Meland
Stories for a Lost Child
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Stories for a Lost Child

by Carter Meland

The summer before going into high school, Fiona receives a mysterious box in the mail, one that she hopes will answer her questions about her Anishinaabe Indian heritage. It contains stories written by the grandfather she never knew, an Anishinaabe man her mother refuses to talk about. As she reads his stories about blackbirds and bigfoot, as well as tales about Indians in space and homeless Native men camping by the river in Minneapolis, Fiona finds other questions arising--questions about her grandfather and the experiences that shaped his stories, questions about her mother's silence regarding the grandfather she never knew. Fiona's desire to know more and her mother's reluctance to share stir up bitter feelings of anger and disappointment that slowly transform as she reads the stories into a warmer understanding of the difficulties of family, love, and the weight of the past.

“Meland’s novel is a wild journey of the imagination that skyrockets the reader through time, space and history. We’re introduced to the growling poetic music of the deep swamp’s Sasquatch, thrilling sci-fi adventures of Indians in space, and a flipped script of significant moments in history: stories within stories that illuminate core truths of what it is to be human, what it is to fail and rise and heal. A must-read!”
—Susan Power, author of The Grass Dancer and Sacred Wilderness.

"Wonderfully imaginative with a sharp tongue and a gentle touch. Meland's prose is a magic potion for a dysfunctional world. First books shouldn't be this good."
—Thomas King, author of The Inconvenient Indian and The Back of the Turtle.

"Stories for a Lost Child is a magnificent stitching together of distinctive narrative voices, surreal images, and poetic language that together create an innovative from with great heart. While space travel and eccentric characters give this novel a lightness and ease, the story of a lost child leads to a deeper understanding of the challenges facing Native people today: loss of language and culture, identity confusion, and generational trauma. Meland navigates these topics by moving from a brilliant rendition of Sasquatch to an old priest to a young girl and beyond, providing a compelling storyline that pulls the reader through the shifts in voice and form. Any reader who appreciates skillfully rendered, imaginative stories will find this book and exceptional read."
— Diane Wilson, author of Spirit Car: Journey to a Dakota Past and Beloved Child: A Dakota Way of Life.

Comments, Opinions, Reviews
Mark Mershon commented on 24-May-2017 02:09 PM
A great and funny series of tales that a young women uses to help her decide how we all grow and mature. Bright, funny and also touching in all the right ways. A great first book!
Patrizia commented on 26-May-2017 07:25 PM
One of the best novels that I have read this year. I picked it up without reading the blurb and was instantly transported by the narrative, the imagery, and the flow of it all. At the same time, I had to pause and ponder over sentences and connections, which makes for the best kind of reading. The diversity of the voices is paired with a delightful stylistic variety. Read it for the plot, the characters, and the language.
David W. Noble commented on 01-Jun-2017 02:18 PM
Carter Meland’s Stories for a Lost Child is beautifully written. The reader feels the joys and sorrows of the major characters. Complexity is central to his book. Like a cultural anthropologist, he helps us see the many painful difficulties that urban Native Americans face in preserving their tribal traditions in a fragmented urban environment. European Americans will learn about their neighbors who reject the European American commitment to independent individualism. Native Americans are interdependent within a sacred tradition. This novel is a cautionary tale for modern people who imagine the lives and cultures of others are simple—a stupid notion, stupid enough to destroy us.

David W. Noble
Professor Emeritus, American Studies and History
University of Minnesota
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