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The Man Who Heard the Land

Artist - Author: 
Diane Glancy

In this haunting novel by celebrated Native American author Diane Glancy, an unnamed man driving a lonely Minnesota highway hears the voice of the land--but he can't make out what it has said. The man is a professor who teaches a 'Literature and the Environment' course, but he soon realises that there is much he must still learn about the land, his past, and his home state. What follows is a kind of odyssey of self-discovery. He submerges himself into the history of the region, trying to piece together geology, Native folklore, and early explorer literature, all in an effort to decipher what the land has said. Along the way he experiences the deaths of his parents; he is stranded in an ice-fishing house for a cold winter night; he helps rescue a family from a flood of the Red River. He encounters more elusive obstacles when he tries to gather his material into a book but becomes hopelessly entangled in complexities, ambiguities, and contradictions. But the more the man works to uncover universal truths, the more he circles toward certain inescapable realities in his own life. This is a small masterpiece of prose -- at once an enthralling narrative of one man's personal quest and a deeply probing meditation on each person's place in history.

literature / fiction