Review of Green Grass, Running Water

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Author: Denise Low
Editor: Janet Witalec
Date: 2003
Publisher: Gale
Document Type: Book review; Critical essay
Length: 745 words

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[(review date winter 1994) In the following review, Low describes King's intermingling of Native American and European beliefs and his use of humor in Green Grass, Running Water.]

Humor is the thread that runs through both of Thomas King's novels, Medicine River (1989) and the new Green Grass, Running Water. The tone in each is understated farce. In Medicine River, the hero Will says of his friend, "Harlen Bigbear was my friend, and being Harlen's friend was hard. I can tell you that" (p. 11). The rest of the novel tells exactly how this lovable busybody is a friend to all in a Canadian prairie town. The novel follows conventions of realism, and the close-knit community comes to life through a series of absurdist episodes. The humor in Green Grass, Running Water, though, is raised to another level of cosmic farce. The story line is intermixed with a meta-creation account modeled after Pueblo, Iroquois, Christian, and Siouan traditions--and more.

Fortunately, the novel limits itself to one geographic region, again the Canadian prairies of Alberta. This helps continuity. The plot is a familiar one in Native American fiction:...

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Gale Document Number: GALE|H1100048754