Monday, February 1, 2016

Shout Out: Prudence: A Novel by David Treuer

The publisher tells us:
On a sweltering day in August 1942, Frankie Washburn returns to his family’s rustic Minnesota resort for one last visit before he joins the war as a bombardier, headed for the darkened skies over Europe. Awaiting him at the Pines are those he’s about to leave behind: his hovering mother; the distant father to whom he’s been a disappointment; the Indian caretaker who’s been more of a father to him than his own; and Billy, the childhood friend who over the years has become something much more intimate. But before the homecoming can be celebrated, the search for a German soldier, escaped from the POW camp across the river, explodes in a shocking act of violence, with consequences that will reverberate years into the future for all of them and that will shape how each of them makes sense of their lives.

My impressions:
 Set in Minnesota, "Prudence" is a story beginning and ending with  a young Native American orphan girl. This framework surrounds the stories of several men of various races, sexual orientations, and educational and vocational backgrounds.  The author manages to pack incredible character studies into a short 200 pages.  The writing style is a bit disorienting, but his use of both first and third person narrators seems to fit the story being told.  The setting is World War II, the story is about inter-racial relationships, betrayal, and poverty, but bottom line it's about love, despair, and growing up without guidance. It's not a happily ever after story, but neither is it so dark and dreary that the reader loses hope.  I found it a quick and engrossing read leaving more positive than negative reactions than I expected from the publisher's blurb and other reviewers.

Title: Prudence
Author: David Treuer
Publisher: Riverhead Books (2015)
Genre: Literary Fiction
Subject: Native Americans, inter-racial relations
Setting: Minnesota
Source: Public Library download
Why did I read this book now? It is being considered for the Maine Readers Choice Award.


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