Books Magazine

N. Scott Momaday: House Made of Dawn (1968) Literature and War Readalong January 2017

By Caroline

N. Scott Momaday: House Made of Dawn (1968) Literature and War Readalong January 2017

This is going to be a pretty short post. I finished the book but I didn’t get along with it. It had its moments but overall it was frustrating to read.

Published in 1968, House Made of Dawn was N. Scott Momaday’s first novel. It won the Pulitzer Prize. Critics say it’s his most inaccessible novel. Since it’s the first book, I’ve read by him, I can’t say whether the later novels are more accessible or not, I can just confirm that this one is not. At first the writing reminded me of the more challenging Toni Morrison novels I’ve read (Jazz came to mind), but while I could always make sense of her books, this one lost me. Don’t get me wrong, it has beautiful moments and chapters but it goes back and forth in the chronology, uses stream-of-consciousness, fragments, bits from dreams, mythology. The worst was that I wasn’t always sure whose stream-of consciousness I was reading. And I was never sure why he chose the different approaches. At times, it felt like some of the chapters were creative writing exercises. The chapter that was the most readable read like a short story. It comes towards the end and it helped me make sense of what came before. It’s very powerful and the writing is beautiful. The biggest problem I had is that there is no real story. We just follow the protagonist, Abel, stumble from one episode to the next.

Like Abel, the main protagonist, Momaday grew up on different reservations. What Momaday manages to convey is the confusion. The culture Abel grows up in, isn’t intact. Some of it is part of his heritage but a lot is part of other Native American heritages. Then he joins up and fights during WWII. When he comes back, like his mother and brother, he starts to drink. He kills a man, is sent to prison, comes back and drinks again and gets into fights.

We’re held at arm’s length the whole time, never get a good feeling for Abel’s’ emotions.

The beginning was hard to read because there are descriptions of hunting that made me sick. One in particular, in which Abel captures an eagle.

I’m also not entirely sure, this was a good choice for the readalong. Yes, Abel seems to suffer from PTSD, but he suffers from a lot of other things too. He might not have been better off if he hadn’t joined up.

I’m sorry for this lousy review. I hope someone else has read along and enjoyed it more. I’m sure, if I wanted to spend a couple of days doing research, read secondary literature, then I would find more to like but I’m not really in the mood for that.

Other Review

[email protected] Book Strings

*******

House Made of Dawn is the first book in the Literature and War Readalong 2017. The next book is the French WWII novel Magnus by Sylvie Germain. Discussion starts on Tuesday 28 February, 2017. You can  find further information on the Literature and War Readalong 2017, including the book blurbs here.


You Might Also Like :

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog

These articles might interest you :

  • Studying at the University of Melbourne: How To Be Prepared

    Why choose UniMelb? One of the top reasons why prospective students apply to the University of Melbourne is because of its ranking. Just this year, it... Read more

    7 hours, 12 minutes ago by   Prachipreaches
    BUSINESS, SOCIAL MEDIA, TECH
  • The Bronzer Declutter

    Bronzer Declutter

    A few months ago, after my latest round of decluttering, I put all my make-up (excluding lip products) into a big box. Having it all there together is great... Read more

    7 hours, 52 minutes ago by   Glossqueen
    HAIR & BEAUTY, SELF EXPRESSION
  • White Coral Styled Shoot in Santorini

    White Coral Styled Shoot Santorini

    Today, we’re sharing with you one styled shoot straight out of heaven! The photoshoot took place in beautiful island of Santorini and specifically in a private... Read more

    8 hours, 23 minutes ago by   Eleni Balkouli
    LIFESTYLE, TRAVEL, WEDDING
  • Bilbliophilic Elitism

    You know, the worst of claiming to be a reader is that people assume you are well-read. The problem is the books that they expect you to have read. Read more

    9 hours, 48 minutes ago by   C. Suresh
    DIARIES, SELF EXPRESSION
  • Laura Bush on Family Separation at the Border “It is Immoral”

    Laura Bush Family Separation Border Immoral”

    FirstLadyB | B Inspired By Entertainment News Laura Bush has penned a lette... Read more

    10 hours, 20 minutes ago by   Firstladyb
    SPIRITUALITY
  • How To Travel With A Carry On Only

    Travel With Carry Only

    I was not a carry-on person for a longest time. It never even crossed my mind that it was an option. Not until I moved to the U.S. and the airlines started... Read more

    12 hours, 23 minutes ago by   Tanvi Rastogi
    FASHION
  • Bucket List

    Bucket List

    On the whole I'm quite a fan of lists. Making a list helps me organise and prioritise what I need to do (as long as I stick to it once I've drawn it up). Read more

    14 hours, 16 minutes ago by   Ashleylister
    BOOKS, CREATIVITY, CULTURE, SELF EXPRESSION

Magazines