Saturday, March 17, 2007

The Raven Steals the Light

Author: Bill Reid

First line: Before there was anything, before the great flood had covered the earth and receded, before the animals walked the earth or the trees covered the land or the birds flew between the trees, even before the fish and whales and seals swam in the sea, an old man lived in a house on the bank of a river with his only child, a daughter.

Why you should read the book: A slim, perfect collection of Haida legends from the Pacific Northwest illustrated with original drawings in the traditional style. Reid retells the stories of his people, maintaining the poetic mythic voice while shaping the stories in such a way as to be completely understandable, meaningful, and entertaining to a modern, non-indigenous audience. The writing is both deep and humorous, and the reader will come to adore the wise, foolish, powerful, weak and otherwise completely contradictory trickster figure of the sacred Raven, along with the other characters that move through his world.

Why you shouldn't read this book: You're hung up on one particular set of myths and feel threatened by others.

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