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Winter Counts: A Novel de David Heska Wanbli…

Winter Counts: A Novel (edição: 2020)

de David Heska Wanbli Weiden (Autor)

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2812071,732 (3.91)3
Título:Winter Counts: A Novel
Autores:David Heska Wanbli Weiden (Autor)
Informação:Ecco (2020), 336 pages
Coleções:00-Read 2021, Lidos mas não possuídos

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Winter Counts de David Heska Wanbli Weiden


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Winter Counts by David Heska Wanbli Weiden

Set on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota, Virgil Wounded Horse is the local law enforcer. He is a vigilante who takes justice into his own hands for the good of the people. When heroin ends up on the reservation, it hits close to home. His Nephew is in trouble and Virgil will stop at nothing to put an end to the drug problem. As he sets out on his mission he is up against drug lords and corruption among his own people.

The plot is true to life, thought provoking and engaging while delving into a real word crisis. The characters are Native American and represented beautifully by David Heska Wanbli Weiden. Life on the reservation comes with (some) hardships and prejudice, as well as ancient customs from the elders. Winter Counts is a fantastic story with intensity, raw emotions, and heart-felt moments. A truly memorable read, which I recommend to all. ( )
  SheriAWilkinson | May 5, 2021 |
As a rule, I avoid crime fiction involving drugs, but something told me that Winter Counts would be different. I was right. One of the greatest tools in a writer's arsenal is voice, and the voice of Virgil Wounded Horse immediately drew me into this story. You wouldn't think that a character whose main occupation is beating people to a pulp would interest me, but Virgil isn't your stereotypical violent musclebound oaf. No, Virgil has a strong moral compass which is easily seen when he's offered $5,000 to do a job for a member of the tribal council. $5,000 is more than Virgil makes in a year, but Virgil doesn't jump at the chance to earn all that money because the entire situation doesn't "smell right" to him.

Virgil, his teenage nephew Nathan, and Virgil's ex-girlfriend Marie show the effects of reservation life on three different types of people. Virgil represents what can happen to a poorly educated person on the reservation. Nathan shows us the dangers of reservation life for the young, and educated Marie shows us how many Lakota are trying to improve life on the reservation. All three characters are well-drawn and utterly believable.

Not only did I find myself immersed in the story, but Winter Counts was also a learning experience for me. I had an idea that the American legal system did Native Americans no favors, but I hadn't realized just how abysmally the law treats them. It should not have come as such a surprise. But the law wasn't the only area in which I learned new things. Winter Counts is rich in Lakota history, spirituality, culture, and food. (By the way, do not call the Lakota "Sioux"-- it's another one of those Caucasian derogatory terms.)

The only thing that kept this book from being one of my Best Reads of the year was the fact that, for a mystery, the identity of the chief bad guy and other elements were much too obvious. But with a character like Virgil and the other riches that the author serves up in Winter Counts, that's a small complaint indeed. I highly recommend this book, and I look forward to Weiden's next novel. ( )
  cathyskye | Apr 24, 2021 |
I liked how it described life on a reservation in a real and respectful way. I learned a lot about current Lakota culture. The characters were interesting and complicated in a good way. The mystery aspects of the story were secondary in my opinion. ( )
  Cora-R | Apr 12, 2021 |
There's rather a dearth of books set in South Dakota. In my LibraryThing reading history I only show 2 other books that I have tagged as having South Dakota settings. (Similarly I only show 3 books set in North Dakota and they are all by Louise Erdrich.) I suppose that is partly due to those states being sparsely populated; most writers want to be familiar with their setting to place a book there. Hopefully this author will place some more books in this area.

Virgil Wounded Horse lives on the Rosebud Indian Reservation. He does odd jobs and also metes out physical justice to people that the legal system can't or won't prosecute. He is the guardian of his teenage nephew, Nathan, whose mother died a few years previously. He is an alcoholic but has been sober for a few years. When one of the band councillors offers to pay him to show his brand of justice to a local man, Rick Crow, who is bringing heroin onto the reservation, Virgil is willing because he was a victim of bullying from Rick when he was in high school. Then he comes home one day and finds Nathan in a coma from using heroin and his motivation is enhanced. His nephew recovers, thankfully, and is okay to be left with Virgil's aunt while he goes off to Denver to find the dealer. He is accompanied by his former girlfriend, Marie Short Bear, who dated Rick for a while after she and Virgil split up. Marie has some ideas where they could find Rick. When they go to a bar he frequents he is not there but an undercover drug agent hears them asking for Rick and follows them. When he hears about Nathan he suggests that Nathan could help them convict the gang running the drugs by setting up a sting. Virgil won't even consider this but when a pile of opiod pills are found in Nathan's locker at high school and he is looking at 10 years in federal adult prison he reluctantly agrees. Despite the feds' assurances that all will be well there are big problems and soon Virgil is facing the possibility of losing Nathan. With assistance from a local medicine man and members of the community Virgil has a vision that helps him get an idea of where to look for Nathan.

I thought this was a great book, particularly for a debut novel. It seems to me to be a realistic portrayal of life on a reservation. In Canada, we have very similar problems in our indigenous communities and, although I wouldn't want to see violence used as a technique to bring justice, some of the other mechanisms shown in this book could be useful here as well as in the US. ( )
  gypsysmom | Feb 13, 2021 |
A compelling, thrilling merge of crime novel and #ownvoices, fast-paced and peopled with vivid characters. The author portrays life on the rez with an unflinching perspective and tough affection. Wildly entertaining, would make a great travel read, and more importantly a diverse voice for the genre. ( )
  Salsabrarian | Jan 31, 2021 |
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