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The Turquoise Ledge: A Memoir

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A highly original and poetic self-portrait from one of America's most acclaimed writers. Leslie Marmon Silko's new book, her first in ten years, combines memoir with family history and reflections on the creatures and beings that command her attention and inform her vision of the world, taking readers along on her daily walks through the arroyos and ledges of the Sonoran A highly original and poetic self-portrait from one of America's most acclaimed writers. Leslie Marmon Silko's new book, her first in ten years, combines memoir with family history and reflections on the creatures and beings that command her attention and inform her vision of the world, taking readers along on her daily walks through the arroyos and ledges of the Sonoran desert in Arizona. Silko weaves tales from her family's past into her observations, using the turquoise stones she finds on the walks to unite the strands of her stories, while the beauty and symbolism of the landscape around her, and of the snakes, birds, dogs, and other animals that share her life and form part of her family, figure prominently in her memories. Strongly influenced by Native American storytelling traditions, The Turquoise Ledge becomes a moving and deeply personal contemplation of the enormous spiritual power of the natural world-of what these creatures and landscapes can communicate to us, and how they are all linked. The book is Silko's first extended work of nonfiction, and its ambitious scope, clear prose, and inventive structure are captivating. The Turquoise Ledge will delight loyal fans and new readers alike, and it marks the return of the unique voice and vision of a gifted storyteller.


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A highly original and poetic self-portrait from one of America's most acclaimed writers. Leslie Marmon Silko's new book, her first in ten years, combines memoir with family history and reflections on the creatures and beings that command her attention and inform her vision of the world, taking readers along on her daily walks through the arroyos and ledges of the Sonoran A highly original and poetic self-portrait from one of America's most acclaimed writers. Leslie Marmon Silko's new book, her first in ten years, combines memoir with family history and reflections on the creatures and beings that command her attention and inform her vision of the world, taking readers along on her daily walks through the arroyos and ledges of the Sonoran desert in Arizona. Silko weaves tales from her family's past into her observations, using the turquoise stones she finds on the walks to unite the strands of her stories, while the beauty and symbolism of the landscape around her, and of the snakes, birds, dogs, and other animals that share her life and form part of her family, figure prominently in her memories. Strongly influenced by Native American storytelling traditions, The Turquoise Ledge becomes a moving and deeply personal contemplation of the enormous spiritual power of the natural world-of what these creatures and landscapes can communicate to us, and how they are all linked. The book is Silko's first extended work of nonfiction, and its ambitious scope, clear prose, and inventive structure are captivating. The Turquoise Ledge will delight loyal fans and new readers alike, and it marks the return of the unique voice and vision of a gifted storyteller.

30 review for The Turquoise Ledge: A Memoir

  1. 5 out of 5

    Zanna

    4.5 stars Having read Silko's beautiful novel Ceremony, I was surprised by the entirely different atmosphere of this memoir, in which she says she set out to offer a self portrait. This doesn't mean that she describes her appearance or her personality or a herstory of her life strung on a timeline. Time is a bowl of the present that has ancestors recent and ancient all here in it. Stories have a when here in the bowl somewhere. When and where are distances of mental walks. Or rides on horses or t 4.5 stars Having read Silko's beautiful novel Ceremony, I was surprised by the entirely different atmosphere of this memoir, in which she says she set out to offer a self portrait. This doesn't mean that she describes her appearance or her personality or a herstory of her life strung on a timeline. Time is a bowl of the present that has ancestors recent and ancient all here in it. Stories have a when here in the bowl somewhere. When and where are distances of mental walks. Or rides on horses or the wind. They are like weather, they are circumstances that take part, not dimensions that structure events. Much of the book, in fact, is about its own composition, in that the text becomes a jumbled journal of clouds, rain, heat, interactions with humans, dogs, rattlesnakes, grasshoppers, Star Beings, lizards, saguaro, bees, hummingbirds, boulders. Interactions of touch, speech, exchange, indirect messages... Above all, she collects turquoise rocks, for reasons obscure or unnecessary. She gathers evidence, she reads the world. Since I started reading this I've been talking about it constantly to everyone, although I haven't been very emotionally involved in the book. Now sitting down to bring my thoughts together, like a collection of pebbles, I think I can read the message, and that was it, Leslie reads all the signs, all the information available to her. On the first page alone she reads herself in at least two astrologies. She reads the stones, imagining a turquoise ledge under the surface of the desert, a shining plain of sea blue-green sparkling just out of sight, an endlessly rich imaginary. She studies geology and meteorology. She reads poetry. She hears the spirits. She doesn't reject any sources. While I have been well educated to block most of my channels, to accept only the Facts as verified and authorised by reputable sources. In the desert I see dust, and on the wind I hear dust grinding dust. The message for me is to open my eyes and ears and all the doors of perception I can find... In The Grass Dancer someone compares Sioux and Christian spirituality: “He said the Christian God has a big lantern with the kerosene turned way up, and people pray to him for guidance, and he lights the way. Now, Wakan Tanka, when you cry to him for help says, 'Okay, here's how you start a fire.' And then you have to make your own torch”. And what I learned here is something like that, something about working for knowledge, earning it, coming to it through an effort that changes you in a way that makes you able to know. When she hails the landscape, the sky, the creatures, she is lyrical, she answers beauty with beauty so that her pleasure becomes pleasure, I delight in her delight, my love follows hers. And I've always loved lizards and snakes, so it's nice that someone else does for once. She decides to devote a year to painting and feels herself directed to paint the Star Beings, who then help her to defend the beautiful boulders of a nearby arroyo from a white man 'with a machine' who is breaking them up to 'landscape' the garden of his obscenely large property. Here Silko feels forced to write rage against this figure and his allies into the text, and I couldn't help but be highly amused by her method of antagonism... Since time is mashed as I mentioned, the very frequent 'I found a turquoise rock in the big arroyo' becomes punctuation, but they are necessary to the act of self-portraiture, the map of her preoccupation and the analysis of her activity. How often the turquoise is in the shape of a frog or some other creature, how the rocks come to crowd her workspace, distributed without order, are important matters. As well as turquoise, she picks up glass and other rubbish. Mentioning an ancestor who never threw anything away, she comments that she admired her. Apart from this harvesting, she intervenes as benignly as possible in her environment, happily offering refreshment to bees and hummingbirds and other non-human neighbours, and gladly sheltering rattlesnakes under and around her house. Even the annoying pack rats nesting in the garden she lets be, restricting her hostility to heartily cussing them out on sight in return for chewing through and ruining furniture, car parts and tools. Her appreciation for the night and for clouds and rain gains an ecstatic edge from the blazing heat, about which she is not at all romantic. Nonetheless her desert calls me; my feet are itching now for the touch of hot sand, relief from the chill damp of an English autumn, yet this season has its own loveliness. Perhaps I should go for a walk... Update: I forgot to mention the second most striking thing about this book for me, which was Leslie's reflection that even a story told badly carries much useful information. This surprised me because I immediately thought of the mangled story of Red Riding Hood, which seems to completely change its meaning in the hands of male compiler-editers to bring it into line with patriarchal gender tropes. A poisoned story spreads misinformation, I thought. But on reflection, this pessimism assumes total credulity on the part of the hearer, and, as already mentioned, knowledge isn't passively received here but worked into and out of the self. The mangled remnant of Red Riding Hood was compelling enough to inspire Marina Warner to excavate the earlier version. Children are creative interpreters too. Anyway, when Leslie mentions reading about turquoise mosaics in a book from the British museum, I thought this may well be a tale told badly, a text of the coloniser, yet she still uses it, learns from it, trusting the story to speak through. It's comforting, this wise faith.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Claire

    I loved this book. I chose it because I wanted to visit the natural landscape of Tuscon through the eyes and insights of a lyrical nature writer. I was also looking for the perfect birthday present for someone who knows that landscape well, to transport them back there, reignite something without having to travel. And of course, being curious I had to read it first, it was far too big a temptation and we are the kind of friends you can do that with, indulge the gift before giving it. And wow, wh I loved this book. I chose it because I wanted to visit the natural landscape of Tuscon through the eyes and insights of a lyrical nature writer. I was also looking for the perfect birthday present for someone who knows that landscape well, to transport them back there, reignite something without having to travel. And of course, being curious I had to read it first, it was far too big a temptation and we are the kind of friends you can do that with, indulge the gift before giving it. And wow, what a gift, I'm going to have to buy another copy! In The Turquoise Ledge, Leslie Marmon Silko pieces together this colourful, magical yet natural, narrative of thirty years living in the Tuscon Mountains, on the edge of Saguaro National Park, in a ramshackle house, equally inhabited by creatures of the desert, a pandemonium of parrots and her pack of mastiffs, who like her, develop immunity to certain venomous dangers and survive the extreme climate. The desert terrain and all its wonderful beings, including the weather won her heart and it shows on every page. The book is divided into five parts entitled Ancestors, Rattlesnakes, Star Beings, Turquoise and Lord Chapulin although there are elements of all those things throughout the text, as they are all integrated and woven into the life she lives, the habitat she dwells within and the landscape she walks over, studies and is a part of. Though it is memoir, the author recognises that some aspects of memory are remembered vividly and others, even recent memories involve and invoke imagination. She has learned to tap into her subconscious, searching for truths not facts; she is a writer, a poet and an artist. Though she uses words, she is creating a self-portrait. “We learn to ignore the discrepancies between our memory of an event and a sister’s memory. We can’t be certain of anything. Fortunately my subconscious remembers everything I need. Whatever I can’t recall, later comes back to me as I write fiction. I make myself a fictional character so I can write about myself.” She recalls interactions with family members and elders from her childhood, those often defining moments when a child observes more than just an event but is absorbing a cultural influence, hearing a people’s myths and songs, observing family superstitions. Though she never spoke the Laguna language after the age of five that her great-grandmother A’mooh had spoken and wonders why that was, her great Aunts would ensure she knew of the hummah-hah stories, traditional Laguna stories that reveal the Laguna spiritual outlook toward animals, plants and spirit beings, a viewpoint that had become at odds with her great grandmother’s staunch conversion to the Presbyterian church. I never felt alone or afraid up there in the hills. The hummah-hah stories described the conversations coyotes, crows and buzzards used to have with human beings. I was fascinated with the notion that long ago humans and animals used to freely converse. As I got older I realised the clouds and winds and rivers also have their ways of communication; I became interested in what these entities has to say. My imagination became engaged in discovering what can be known without words. In these now forty years that have passed since she came to live here, the effect of bulldozers and the urban sprawl of Tuscon have destroyed acres and acres of pristine desert habitat and left some species in danger of extinction and others to seek refuge elsewhere. The old ranch house and the sheds and outbuildings are home to pack rats and deer mice accompanied by gopher snakes, racer snakes and rattlesnakes that eat them. So in the beginning, I got to know the snakes and pack rats because we were neighbours. I began to keep notes on my encounters. So many encounters, that by the time you finish reading this section, you too may be converted to considering if not accepting that we should all live in closer proximity to our reptilian brethren. Silko and the snakes become familiar, she learns how to be around them and they learn that she is not a danger. In one of the most symbiotic relationships I have ever read about, this woman and these creatures live in this space together, her in the house, them under it and many anecdotes of those fascinating encounters that she handles with such poise and reverence. Over time the rattlesnakes will get to know you and your pets. They learn human and dog behaviour and seem to understand the timing of our daily routines; they try to avoid encounters with us at all cost. A few times I’ve been very early or very late with my outdoor chores and I’ve surprised snakes that didn’t expect me at that time of day. And then there is the heat, I learn that as the heat expands the air molecules they are thinner and less buoyant, no longer able to carry the particles of dust. The seasons are rain and no rain. When the temperature exceeds 112°F/44°C, the air smells of wood and bark just before they burst into flame. The heat boils the sky to a deep blue. No traces of clouds, only the deepening blue as the air becomes crystal clear. The angle of the Sun causes the light to have the luminescence of a blue flame. The Sun is seated in the north corner of Time. We learn about the unique geology of the Tuscon Mountains that explains the formations, rocks and stones that appear on her walks in the arroyo (dry creek bed) her fascination with turquoise, with the Nahua people, the Nahuatl language and Tlaloc, the Nahua God of Rain, to whom she occasionally chants her own original rain prayer. And Lord Chapulin, who you’ll meet if you decide to read this, a living creature and the subject of one of her portrait paintings. This book took me on a voyage to a place I’ve never been that seemed like another planet, Earth and yet not the corners of Earth I’ve known. I wonder how someone can live in the heat of the desert like this (without air conditioning) and keep animals, or live alongside wildlife and observe them the way she does, in tune with the ancestors, the star beings, the rattlesnakes, rain chants and an ancient language she predicts is going to make a comeback. I was enchanted by her endearing tales, her lyrical observations, nuggets of natural and peoples' history, her love of the local environment and I hope the man with the machine desecrating the arroyo reads her book and stops being such an idiot. Highly Recommended.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Stefani

    Why is it that every time I read a book about the southwest, the spiritual journeys of post-menopausal women come to mind? Is it because the last time I went to Sedona the gift shops were riddled with older women oohing and aahing over dream catchers and sacred crystals like they were Jesus fish only to be briefly interrupted by the promise of healing vortex's in the surrounding mountains? In any case, this book was nothing like what I've just described. For one thing, Leslie Silko is native to Why is it that every time I read a book about the southwest, the spiritual journeys of post-menopausal women come to mind? Is it because the last time I went to Sedona the gift shops were riddled with older women oohing and aahing over dream catchers and sacred crystals like they were Jesus fish only to be briefly interrupted by the promise of healing vortex's in the surrounding mountains? In any case, this book was nothing like what I've just described. For one thing, Leslie Silko is native to the area, not a suburban transplant, and can trace her roots back to the ancient Native American and Mexican people that inhabited Arizona many years prior to it becoming a destination for those seeking enlightenment in the New Agey, pseudo-hippie, Birks and caftan wearing sort of way. Not only that, but Silko is amazingly talented at describing mundane, daily activity—in her case, walks through the mountains in search of turquoise rocks—and weaving them into a dreamy, wandering narrative that connects her past life with the present. She communicates with and has respect for the earth and animals that populate her home, she believes that when people die, they inhabit animals for a few days to attempt to say goodbye to their loved ones—as kooky and New Agey as this sounds, Silko makes it seem normal and, within the Native American belief system, it is—she also predicts weather patterns and hates the developers who are disrupting the local ecosystem to build McMansions in gated communities that will shut out the natural environment that Silko is so connected with. Admittedly, I was a bit taken aback by the sheer numbers of desert critters that share Silko's living space—rattlesnakes, scorpions and pack rats—but you get the sense that Silko knows what's best.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Tina Cipolla

    In Turquoise Ledge Leslie Marmon Silko assigns gender to the two major categories of storms out here is the desert. There is the summer monsoon storm with its loud blustery brashness and showy lightening display that sometimes turns violent; it makes lots of noise but delivers little in the way of life-giving rain. Then there is the winter rainstorm that builds up slowly over the ocean; it rolls in quietly, rains down gently for a good long time. It refills the aquifers and brings life to the de In Turquoise Ledge Leslie Marmon Silko assigns gender to the two major categories of storms out here is the desert. There is the summer monsoon storm with its loud blustery brashness and showy lightening display that sometimes turns violent; it makes lots of noise but delivers little in the way of life-giving rain. Then there is the winter rainstorm that builds up slowly over the ocean; it rolls in quietly, rains down gently for a good long time. It refills the aquifers and brings life to the desert. Guess which storm is male and which one is female? This book is lyrical account of a series of walks in the mountains outside of Tucson Arizona, but I have to tell you, no book I have ever read depicts as clearly as this one does, the cultural divide between the Native American and the European American. In order to get anything from this book, and not be annoyed by it, I had to put aside what I can only describe as my European-descended mindset which relies on fact, science and let’s face it, Abrahamic religious tradition or even more specifically Judeo-Christian thinking. All of that needs to go away temporarily to understand how Silko views this world. To Silko this is a world filled with Spirits as much as it is filled with animals and plants. In her mind rocks are alive. They hold both meaning and message. The universe is filled with beings and proof of their existence—never mind that she has never actually SEEN the Star People, they are as real to Silko as her neighbor who keeps stealing boulders from the arroyo where she walks. Which leads me to the one absolutely annoying thing in this book with no matter what your background there is no getting past (and this thing makes me not rate this book more highly.) There are a series of events where a neighbor building a mini-mansion near Silko’s home uses heavy machinery to steal boulders from the arroyo on public land. This rightly infuriates Silko as the machinery tears up the land and is well on its way to destroying the arroyo outright as the trees in there start falling over and the sand starts washing away. There are times throughout the book where she is so angry she tells the reader she had to stop writing for a while. Finally when a great horned own attacks and kills several of her macaws, she blames this attack on the neighbor as she believes the new lack of food in the arroyo has caused the owl to desperately start seeking food elsewhere. A logical conclusion, but in fact what really angers her is the notion that you can just take things from public land, she frequently angrily refers to the arroyo as “his personal quarry.” In fact, the entire basis of this book is a series of descriptions of walks in which Silko collects pieces of turquoise from this very same arroyo and the collection grows so large that is begins to overtake her writing space. I get that there is a huge difference between using earth moving machinery to move boulders and slowly collecting rocks and turquoise in a less impactful way over a series of years. However, at no time does she address this fact that both she and her neighbor are exploiting the resources of the arroyo. Both of them use it as their own personal quarry. This is not unlike the male and female storms, one comes in and gets the job done violently and quickly, the other slowly removes the stones piece by piece over a series of years. If you can allow yourself the willful suspension of disbelief in regards to the dead walking the Earth, aliens, Aztec gods, etc, and if you are willing to overlook the theft of the turquoise from public lands, then you can use this book to get insight into a completely different world view than is typically held in this day and age, or you can read it just to enjoy the wonderful descriptions of the flora and fauna in mountains outside of Tucson. Silko is a skilled writer even if she rambles sometimes and even though I’m not rating this book very highly, I am planning to read some of Silko’s other work.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Fran

    Turquoise Ledge Reviewed by Fran Lewis Close your eyes and picture the most beautiful scenery in the world. Take this unique and special walk along with the author, hear the sounds of the animals, see their footprints in the sand, smell the greenery and feel the earth in your hands, see the images in your own mind that she creates and go along on her speed walks. Pick up your own turquoise stones, create your own personal stories and ledge and enter an entire new world along with author Leslie Mar Turquoise Ledge Reviewed by Fran Lewis Close your eyes and picture the most beautiful scenery in the world. Take this unique and special walk along with the author, hear the sounds of the animals, see their footprints in the sand, smell the greenery and feel the earth in your hands, see the images in your own mind that she creates and go along on her speed walks. Pick up your own turquoise stones, create your own personal stories and ledge and enter an entire new world along with author Leslie Marmon Silko. Welcome to the Turquoise Ledge and join me as I take you on the journey along with the author and invite you to walk along as I describe what she sees, relates and her interesting life. Picture the Arizona desert, the rattlers, the ants, and cactus and join me on our journey. The author relates much about her ancestors, the legends and stories behind the land and much more. The focus of this memoir is to relate the author’s heritage, life in the mountains, her walk and the beauty of nature. She finds many turquoise stones, rocks and pebbles along the way that she refers to as the Turquoise Ledge. But, she does not allow herself to remain secluded to just turquoise. She picks up along the way any odd, uniquely shaped or colorful stones that she might add to her already huge collection. She focuses on her ancestry telling of the meaning behind the word turquoise and how it translates to the indigenous people as meaning water and rain. Turquoise comes from water and is really a component of copper. This is really fascinating to learn and turquoise is really beautiful. You can feel the passion in her thoughts and hear the excitement in her words as she relates her experiences to the reader. Told in narrative form the author relates her early life, her ancestry and her love of hiking, the magnificent scenery, the history of the grinding stone, the legends she was told which brings the reader along on the journey. The author relates her stories about the Pueblo Laguna her schooling and how her heritage and culture impacted her later life. Her love of writing comes through loud and clear as she tells the reader how writing stories, plots and sharing them in school was the highlight of her youth. At seven years old she said she wanted to be a screenwriter. Through her stories she would enter a whole new world, pretend she was part of the story and envision herself in the scene as she wrote it. The adventures were of her dreams, real life and her adventures. Her primary playmates growing up were animals and her companion books. Reading about her grandparents her parent’s parents was quite enlightening. The author has a great love and respect for many creatures but primarily for rattlesnakes. Taught not to fear them but to respect them she even went as far as saving some, protecting others and feeling guilty when having to kill any to protect a family member from being bitten. Silko loves to protect these snakes but man sometimes wins out and her feelings come through as she imagines smashing the person herself with a boulder. The animals she talks about live near her home and her protectiveness comes through and her love of nature emanates throughout the memoir. The desert being her home you can feel her frustration and anger when anyone comes into the desert and tries to destroy it. Her low regard for people or humans shines through in this respect her love of her Laguna Pueblo, Cherokee; white and Mexican ancestries add much to the story. Telling the history of each culture and the hardships encountered by not only her but also her family you begin to understand her frustrations. From stories about her great-great-grandmother to her mother who was an alcoholic her live is anything but dull. 
Her life revolves around her love of storytelling, ancestral traditions and her relationship with the animals, creatures, and the star people and not really with other people. You can feel her distance from her children and her husband. She seems one and the same with nature and the natural world. Describing in Part Two her many experiences with rattlers, saving some, killing others. Stories that others have told about these snakes and the many times she had to protect someone from harm. This book is told in the first person narrative but the events seem to chronicle her life. Describing many of her walks on the old trails, her collecting of turquoise, her love of the earth, her fascination with ant palaces and what inspired her to paint and stop writing for a period of time. Part Three is fascinating as it focuses on her discussions of the many paintings she did, which were inspired by petroglyphs and ancestral stories. Star Beings were the focus of these paintings. Stating that the Star Beings spoke to her told her what to paint and hoped that she would create their portraits was brought a paranormal or psychic touch to her story. Star Beings she stated visited the earth every 7 or 8 hundred years. She claimed they spoke to her and as a result she created their portraits. The history of these people and her stories and how she came to paint them are all told in Chapters 25-29. She continues in the final chapters of this section to discuss more of her walks, her love of the outdoors, breaking her foot and finding many turquoise rocks around her house and yard. Part four focuses on finding turquoise. Her hope was to live on top of that turquoise ledge some day. She seems so enveloped with turquoise and would do anything to find and collect as much as possible. Her walks are described as the scenery is so vividly you feel as if you are up there on the ledge with the author searching for this precious stone. Part four does focus on finding more, many different prophecies that came true and her portraits of the Star Beings. Finding many pieces of turquoise stones, how the Star Beings gave way to Star Maps. She created a portrait of Lord Chapulin, which is the prime focus of the final section of this book. Keeping a log of where she found these stones, her walks, her goals and the recovery period of a special bird named Sandino this memoir really takes us into the world of nature and helps us understand the author’s passion for this parrot that she loved, the snakes she protected and her love of turquoise. The Spanish word for grasshopper is Chapulin, which defines the final section of this book. This grasshopper that she speaks of was seen by her son Robert and claimed to be the largest grasshopper ever seen. She saw a huge one too in her front yard. She even includes a story about a tortoise in this section, ratty her archenemy and may other creatures that round out this interesting and creative memoir. The passion she feels about protecting these creatures, her ancestry, the stories of her life that she shares makes the reader feel apart of her story, keeps reader interest and I would love to know just how much turquoise she finally did collect. I love rattlesnakes and I love learning about reptiles, as that is my favorite place to explore when I go the Bronx Zoo. I love walks, hikes and I enjoyed learning the history of the indigenous people and I identified with how she felt when going to school and feeling different or left out. This is a great book for anyone who is interested in learning more about nature through the journey of one woman who shared it all with us. This is a definite must read for all outdoor lovers. I am sure there are many people who would love to join her on her walks. Silko really brings the outdoors to life. Fran Lewis: Reviewer

  6. 5 out of 5

    Carrie

    Reading in preparation for Almanac of the Dead... One of the oddest memoirs I've ever read, but certainly one of the most charming. As a former desert-dweller, her long walks and observations made me ache for the vast, lonely stretches of New Mexico. She's a gentle soul, and much of her focus is on the creatures with whom she inhabits her space, and her relationship to the land and to her ancestors. Be warned: there's little structure to speak of, so if a diary-style cataloguing of rattlesnakes a Reading in preparation for Almanac of the Dead... One of the oddest memoirs I've ever read, but certainly one of the most charming. As a former desert-dweller, her long walks and observations made me ache for the vast, lonely stretches of New Mexico. She's a gentle soul, and much of her focus is on the creatures with whom she inhabits her space, and her relationship to the land and to her ancestors. Be warned: there's little structure to speak of, so if a diary-style cataloguing of rattlesnakes and other desert wildlife, communications with the Star Beings and the natural world, and analyses of weather patterns aren't your style, stick with her novels.

  7. 5 out of 5

    John

    a diary or day-book of Silko's days and walks in the hills and arroyos surrounding her home near Tucson. One of things I loved about this book is that nothing happens--it's like sitting next to a wise, nice friend with not much to do, listening to them tell of what they've observed, how they've lived out their recent days. Or a long walk with a guide who knows the land as well as it could be known in a human life of deep veneration and close observation. You trust Silko, it's a very intimate con a diary or day-book of Silko's days and walks in the hills and arroyos surrounding her home near Tucson. One of things I loved about this book is that nothing happens--it's like sitting next to a wise, nice friend with not much to do, listening to them tell of what they've observed, how they've lived out their recent days. Or a long walk with a guide who knows the land as well as it could be known in a human life of deep veneration and close observation. You trust Silko, it's a very intimate conversation. Of course, because in a sense nothing happens, Silko's remarkable sympathetic relationship to the land, weather, plant and animal lives that surround her comes vividly to the fore. Her house is a zoo - she raises macaws, British mastiffs, and other creatures. In an manner opposite to what most of do, she opens her house and life as completely as possible to other creatures, rather than shut them out. She practically raises rattlesnakes, taking great care not to obstruct their hunting, resting and movements. Silko is very much a self-trained naturalist, carefully tracking the shifting shape of land she's in, especially the changes made by the periodic flooding of nearby arroyos. But her relationship to creation is not scientific, but profoundly religious and animistic. She receives messages from Star Beings, ancient Aztec star deities often hostile or indifferent to humans, and is moved to paint a series of portraits of them under their guidance. She communes with clouds, instructing us that is possible to speak with them (not with our human voice though, which is ugly). An unusually large gathering of grasshopppers is seen not as infestation, but as a proud gathering of Lord Chapulin, the great Grasshopper Being, his wife, and their army. All of this is told "straight up", in all seriousness. It is not poetic or metaphorical elaboration, but the way things are and the way they demand to be heard and told. I know of no other modern author with such a living, spiritualist relationship with the surrounding world.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Diane

    Oh this is a rough one! She rambles on and on about her favorite rattlesnakes and the rats that are living under her kitchen floor and talks about her 8 dogs and 14 parrots (no lie). She goes on for chapters about the rattlesnakes--these are her memoirs???-and I can only imagine it's for shock value. Once she got into the star beings, that was it for me. I think, and I say this somewhat tongue in cheek but not entirely, she was stoned when she wrote this book. That's the only way it makes sense. Oh this is a rough one! She rambles on and on about her favorite rattlesnakes and the rats that are living under her kitchen floor and talks about her 8 dogs and 14 parrots (no lie). She goes on for chapters about the rattlesnakes--these are her memoirs???-and I can only imagine it's for shock value. Once she got into the star beings, that was it for me. I think, and I say this somewhat tongue in cheek but not entirely, she was stoned when she wrote this book. That's the only way it makes sense. There is no direction, no point and the writing style is just odd. For example, she regularly writes things like "Charlie and I thought this was funny." "Gus went to get ....." without ever introducing or telling you who these people are. And she regularly uses pronouns in a very strange way. She will write "He was walking down the street....." when for the last paragraph she's been talking about a woman so you have no idea who she's referring to and have to backtrack to kind of guess at who it is. Way too much work--I'm on page 145 of 313 and think I would rather have my teeth drilled than finish this one. This is a brutal read. I think all the fabulous reviews are a case of "the emperor has no clothes."

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jme

    Not the conventional memoir, though one should expect lack of convention from Silko by now. And, oh, but she DOES tell us of her family and her lovers; they are the snake, the owls, the toads, the Star Beings... she blends the earthly and ethereal into what they are: one. As with her character, Ayah, in Lullaby, Silko knows full well that there is nothing between us and the Divine, that our separateness is only an illusion, that time is not linear, that past, present and future all exist, right he Not the conventional memoir, though one should expect lack of convention from Silko by now. And, oh, but she DOES tell us of her family and her lovers; they are the snake, the owls, the toads, the Star Beings... she blends the earthly and ethereal into what they are: one. As with her character, Ayah, in Lullaby, Silko knows full well that there is nothing between us and the Divine, that our separateness is only an illusion, that time is not linear, that past, present and future all exist, right here, right now. The Turquoise Ledge and its characters are touchstones and gateways. Well worth the read.

  10. 5 out of 5

    cat

    2011 Book 18/100 A huge fan of Leslie Marmon Silko's fiction, I was thrilled to see her memoir on the library shelf. After a rough start with a section focused on familial history, a section that felt slow and ponderous to me even when the stories intrigued, the remaining four sections grabbed me and made me read this book late into the night. The book is divided into 5 parts: Ancestors, Rattlesnakes, Star Beings, Turquois, and Lord Chapulin, and each part contains chapters that often feel like j 2011 Book 18/100 A huge fan of Leslie Marmon Silko's fiction, I was thrilled to see her memoir on the library shelf. After a rough start with a section focused on familial history, a section that felt slow and ponderous to me even when the stories intrigued, the remaining four sections grabbed me and made me read this book late into the night. The book is divided into 5 parts: Ancestors, Rattlesnakes, Star Beings, Turquois, and Lord Chapulin, and each part contains chapters that often feel like journal entries - detailed description of walks in and near Saguaro National Park, the boundary of which her home abuts. Her descriptions and stories of the creatures and the natural world were mesmerizing to me. As the NYTimes book review said: "In her house in the Tucson Mountains, pack rats make a home in the copy machine, a rattlesnake hides under the chaise longue, spiders are welcome and the appearance of a grasshopper is seen as a sign from Lord Chapulin, the Grasshopper Being. Silko’s menagerie includes mastiffs, parrots, macaws, bees, hummingbirds and various other creatures. None of them are really pets: she gives them respect, not coddling. In fact, much of the book describes how she tends to the animals that live in and around her home, as well as how she attempts to help them ward off predators. While she can’t do much to protect them from the biggest menace, man, Silko’s understanding of nature’s balance brings her comfort." For the section on rattlesnakes alone, I recommend this lovely and lyrical book. It kept me up past midnight, intrigued by her ways of interacting with a creature most of us are terrified by, and loving the window into the natural world that she inhabits.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Bobby

    It was Terry Tempest Williams' review of this book that made me want to pick it up. That being said, TTW could urge me to read a technical manual on how to change a light bulb and I'd find value in it. The Turquoise Ledge, a memoir by Leslie Marmon Silko, is an exploration of place that is absolutely unfamiliar to me. She looks at her own native history and considers memory as it relates to family lore only as accurate as one wants to truly remember. Truth and memory become skewed over time, alt It was Terry Tempest Williams' review of this book that made me want to pick it up. That being said, TTW could urge me to read a technical manual on how to change a light bulb and I'd find value in it. The Turquoise Ledge, a memoir by Leslie Marmon Silko, is an exploration of place that is absolutely unfamiliar to me. She looks at her own native history and considers memory as it relates to family lore only as accurate as one wants to truly remember. Truth and memory become skewed over time, altered in the telling and the remembering, and by who is doing the telling. Hers is a remarkable, complicated, and rich history. As writer and visual artist, Silko takes the reader on her daily walks through the deserts of Arizona and introduces us to the magnificent and natural ecosystems that are beautiful and dangerous. She openly embraces the wildlife, caring for, feeding, and watering to protect and preserve both predators and prey. Hers is a simple life enriched with beauty and appreciation of the natural world complicated by the encroaching, wealthy developers who care little about their impact on the environment. Leslie Marmon Silko challenged me page after page to consider my daily path with eyes wide open.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Maureen Grigsby

    A love story to the Tucson Sonoran desert!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Max

    Quote of Zanna "She gathers evidence, she reads the world." Zanna's review is what I want to remember about this book. Quote of Zanna "She gathers evidence, she reads the world." Zanna's review is what I want to remember about this book.

  14. 5 out of 5

    John Benson

    This is an interesting memoir in that it is written in such a different way. It starts out fairly conventionally telling of Leslie Marmon Silko's early life in New Mexico on the Laguna Reservation. In it she tells of family members and her connections and disconnections from them. But the remainder of the book takes place on the edge of Tucson where she has lived for some thirty years. Mostly, she describes walks she takes on the edge of the Saguaro National Park as she looks for pieces of turqu This is an interesting memoir in that it is written in such a different way. It starts out fairly conventionally telling of Leslie Marmon Silko's early life in New Mexico on the Laguna Reservation. In it she tells of family members and her connections and disconnections from them. But the remainder of the book takes place on the edge of Tucson where she has lived for some thirty years. Mostly, she describes walks she takes on the edge of the Saguaro National Park as she looks for pieces of turquoise. At her rural home, she writes of the rattle snakes and other animals, both tamed and untamed, that she tries to co-exist with there. Larger issues include looking at how different societies have looked at key animals and the weather systems with the heat and lack of rain around Tucson. It is hard to pin it down as a memoir. It may be more of a natural and spiritual history of her home.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jenny

    What a memoir! I don’t think I’ll ever look or think about the Arizona desert in the same way. This memoir was like being inside Silko’s head. From the simple to the profound, her thoughts, musings, and observations were like a peek into someone else’s life.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Linda Brunner

    This reads almost like a daily diary but one filled with the natural world and the magic that is Leslie Marmon Silko's world. This reads almost like a daily diary but one filled with the natural world and the magic that is Leslie Marmon Silko's world.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Tulara

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Wonderful stories about living in the mountains of Tucson - she puts you there, seeing all the beauty of the desert and sky. The stories of her family are like sitting at the kitchen table with a warm cup of tea and sugar biscuits and hearing the stories of your family. I wish I could tell her what her writing means to me - how it makes me let go of any worries I have - and I participate in her life and time. Stories are how we know who we are and where we fit in the world. Update: I finished the Wonderful stories about living in the mountains of Tucson - she puts you there, seeing all the beauty of the desert and sky. The stories of her family are like sitting at the kitchen table with a warm cup of tea and sugar biscuits and hearing the stories of your family. I wish I could tell her what her writing means to me - how it makes me let go of any worries I have - and I participate in her life and time. Stories are how we know who we are and where we fit in the world. Update: I finished the book and I really enjoyed the journey. Silko's perspective on nature, the animals in the desert (yes, even the snakes) led me to a new awareness - and I felt a bit ashamed. In the book, she talks of newly retired people wanting the make their dream house in the desert and the effect that a rising population with no knowledge of the desert can ruin the delicate balance - like the man who was taking boulders from the arroyo because they would like nice on his land. I went to Tucson seeking a place to build a dream house - okay - probably not as fancy and rich as the people she talked to - but I wanted it and I could see how a lot of people doing it could eat up the desert with their demands for water and privacy. I would have made the snakes move and would have tried to make my place gated and private. I realize how far I am removed from my environment - even here in the South. A great read and a chance to look withing - well done, Ms Silko.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Barb

    I won't rate this memoir because, although I reached page 140, I couldn't finish. Leslie Marmon Silko, of mixed ancestry ( Laguna Pueblo, Cherokee, Mexican and white) is an inventive writer and I stayed with her as she described her complex family history in no particular time frame or order as she moved through many homes and back again in the beautiful Southwest. It was difficult and I guess unnecessary to follow the names and stories. I even lasted through the snake chapter which is interesti I won't rate this memoir because, although I reached page 140, I couldn't finish. Leslie Marmon Silko, of mixed ancestry ( Laguna Pueblo, Cherokee, Mexican and white) is an inventive writer and I stayed with her as she described her complex family history in no particular time frame or order as she moved through many homes and back again in the beautiful Southwest. It was difficult and I guess unnecessary to follow the names and stories. I even lasted through the snake chapter which is interesting enough to recommend the book…if you have the stomach to read about beautiful rattlers tolerated in the house, in the yard, in the garden and on the front sidewalk. Silko knows them, interprets their thoughts, reveres them and creates homes for them, to the detriment of people and pets who live with or visit her. I got through that with the fascination of watching an incredible naturalist or an incredibly irresponsible person. I reached MY personal limit with the "star creature" chapter. I can respect alternative religious beliefs but I have a problem when a person justifies their dubious or unusual behavior by claiming the "Star Beings" insisted on it, preferred it that way, or chose Silko to be their human representative. I should have been forewarned by the preface where she stated that "the process we call memory, even recent memory, involves imagination." Her imagination is way out there!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Joy

    I thoroughly enjoyed this memoir of Leslie Marmon Silko's life in the Tucson Desert. Having read books by other native American authors I am familiar with the belief that all things in the creation are alive and have a soul including things like rocks and boulders. In this memoir this becomes evident as the author navigates her small farm and her walks through the Big Arroyo and the Small Arroyo noticing the boulders, the sand, the trees and the animals that live there. The memoir begins with Ma I thoroughly enjoyed this memoir of Leslie Marmon Silko's life in the Tucson Desert. Having read books by other native American authors I am familiar with the belief that all things in the creation are alive and have a soul including things like rocks and boulders. In this memoir this becomes evident as the author navigates her small farm and her walks through the Big Arroyo and the Small Arroyo noticing the boulders, the sand, the trees and the animals that live there. The memoir begins with Marmon Silko's human family told in a way very similar to the way she might tell someone who is actually just sitting in her home and listening. This is to say that her families' story is not linear, it is told as the memories come to her of these people in her life. As she moves onto the stories of the family members of the natural world such as the rocks, the turquoise, the rattle snakes and the other plants and animals that she shares her world with, this intimate mode of story-telling continues and I felt just a sense of how alive the desert was all around her and sometimes I even felt like I was on the path beside her.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Shomeret

    I was interested in reading a book that was supposed to be Leslie Marmon Silko's memoir. I had very much liked her most recent novel, Gardens in the Dunes. I expected a book that was as well written as that novel had been. Normally, a book intended to be a memoir has an organizing principle. It's usually chronological, but it could be organized by topic. The Turquoise Ledge recounts daily activities and associated reflections. So I think it would be more accurate to call it a diary. I recognized I was interested in reading a book that was supposed to be Leslie Marmon Silko's memoir. I had very much liked her most recent novel, Gardens in the Dunes. I expected a book that was as well written as that novel had been. Normally, a book intended to be a memoir has an organizing principle. It's usually chronological, but it could be organized by topic. The Turquoise Ledge recounts daily activities and associated reflections. So I think it would be more accurate to call it a diary. I recognized the diary structure since I kept diaries very much like this one as an adolescent. It seemed to me that The Tourquoise Ledge is somewhat superficial. It is filled with observations that are occasionally interesting, but Silko doesn't consider topics in depth. I think that the diary format is a scattered approach. I should read her essays if I want to see more focused writing. For my complete review see http://shomeretmasked.blogspot.com/20...

  21. 5 out of 5

    Anita Biers

    When I read the Turquoise Ledge I felt as if I was with her, living in that wonderful desert and seeing all the wonderful creatures she saw. I felt her joy at walking the arroyo and looking for turquoise and her dread at seeing the machine man take over sacred territory. I am a white woman currently, in this lifetime, from southwestern Pennsylvania, but I have always felt at home in the southwest part of our nation. However, I, too, have found wonderful uninhabited places here in PA that were ul When I read the Turquoise Ledge I felt as if I was with her, living in that wonderful desert and seeing all the wonderful creatures she saw. I felt her joy at walking the arroyo and looking for turquoise and her dread at seeing the machine man take over sacred territory. I am a white woman currently, in this lifetime, from southwestern Pennsylvania, but I have always felt at home in the southwest part of our nation. However, I, too, have found wonderful uninhabited places here in PA that were ultimately consumed by modern machines. I cried at how the land was ravaged for human need and yet, sometimes, it remained naked and deserted. I don't tend to read a lot of descriptive narrative in books but I did so with this one. Her stories of the birds, reptiles and animals made me feel I knew them and was saddened by their loss and their struggle to live. I share her love for the land and for those of the past who still remain today.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Elly Sands

    So here in northern Arizona where I live, we are being overwhelmed with honeybees taking over our hummingbird feeders. It's been a real dilemma as no one really wants them around. But this author begins one of her chapters with "This is a great day...the bees are back!" This is what I enjoyed most about her book. How she relates to the natural world and that every critter, insect, and rattlesnake has a place in life and live freely around and sometimes inside her house. I found her writing a bit So here in northern Arizona where I live, we are being overwhelmed with honeybees taking over our hummingbird feeders. It's been a real dilemma as no one really wants them around. But this author begins one of her chapters with "This is a great day...the bees are back!" This is what I enjoyed most about her book. How she relates to the natural world and that every critter, insect, and rattlesnake has a place in life and live freely around and sometimes inside her house. I found her writing a bit dry but I still was drawn into her day to day journal where she writes about her walks through the desert and finding her collection of rocks, especially turquoise. It has changed my attitude about the bees. I now feel good about "feeding them." But I also purchased a hummer feeder today that is guaranteed to be bee proof. So everyone is happy!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Laura Hoopes

    Silko's fiction is exciting and I see that readers who loved Ceremony and other works didn't usually give this memoir many stars. It's gentle and quiet and contemplative, weaving together daily life in hot, dry desert country that Silko loves, her concerns about the direction the world is taking, and her interactions with ancient spirits of her Native American relatives' tribal cultures. I enjoyed it a great deal, feeling that she took me by the hand on her daily walks through desert country, w Silko's fiction is exciting and I see that readers who loved Ceremony and other works didn't usually give this memoir many stars. It's gentle and quiet and contemplative, weaving together daily life in hot, dry desert country that Silko loves, her concerns about the direction the world is taking, and her interactions with ancient spirits of her Native American relatives' tribal cultures. I enjoyed it a great deal, feeling that she took me by the hand on her daily walks through desert country, waterings of her plants, care for animals including rattlesnakes, and rage at neighbors who love money and show and ruin the environment around her.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Basile

    This beautiful memoir tells the life of Leslie Marmon Silko. What can I say that hasn't been said? It brings me to her place, her topography: the deserts of Arizona, the place littered with Sun Beings and turquoise bits and sandstone. Really, it's pages of beautiful memory. Told gently, unpretentiously, with love and honesty. It's the telling of mythology and folklore, and very universally accessible for those who have a love for the S.W. USA and the history of the Pueblo people, Mexicans and Sp This beautiful memoir tells the life of Leslie Marmon Silko. What can I say that hasn't been said? It brings me to her place, her topography: the deserts of Arizona, the place littered with Sun Beings and turquoise bits and sandstone. Really, it's pages of beautiful memory. Told gently, unpretentiously, with love and honesty. It's the telling of mythology and folklore, and very universally accessible for those who have a love for the S.W. USA and the history of the Pueblo people, Mexicans and Spanish. More so, it's a collection of pretty things that we all would take for granted.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Courtney Stockstill

    I can't force myself to read any more of this. I've read the first 31 chapters... 174 pages out of 311. I keep thinking it will get better, but it won't. It's not like I have to read it. This book just rambles on about one woman's personal journal of how she walks around the arroyo's in Tucson and picks up turquoise, and how she has all her favorite rattle snakes in her yard, etc. etc. I can't believe it got so many good reviews. Oh well, I must learn to cut my losses sooner with this type of bo I can't force myself to read any more of this. I've read the first 31 chapters... 174 pages out of 311. I keep thinking it will get better, but it won't. It's not like I have to read it. This book just rambles on about one woman's personal journal of how she walks around the arroyo's in Tucson and picks up turquoise, and how she has all her favorite rattle snakes in her yard, etc. etc. I can't believe it got so many good reviews. Oh well, I must learn to cut my losses sooner with this type of book and just move on.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Katherine

    I picked it up since it was on the Pima County Library's Best Southwest Books of the Year List and I had enjoyed some of the author's novels. Really enjoyed the part about her younger years in Laguna Pueblo but the second half of the book seemed very repeatitive and I finally gave up. There are pages and pages about all the rattlesnakes that live in her yard and the turquoise rocks she picks up. When we got to the messages from the star people things just got a bit too strange for me. I picked it up since it was on the Pima County Library's Best Southwest Books of the Year List and I had enjoyed some of the author's novels. Really enjoyed the part about her younger years in Laguna Pueblo but the second half of the book seemed very repeatitive and I finally gave up. There are pages and pages about all the rattlesnakes that live in her yard and the turquoise rocks she picks up. When we got to the messages from the star people things just got a bit too strange for me.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth Felicetti

    Not sure why I was drawn to this book; at least partially because I'm from Arizona, and went to college in Tucson, where it's set. I'm in awe of the way the writer lives among wild creatures in her desert home. I couldn't read it as quickly as I read most memoirs: she forced me to slow down. It's haunting. Going to take me a while to articulate what it meant to me to read. Not sure why I was drawn to this book; at least partially because I'm from Arizona, and went to college in Tucson, where it's set. I'm in awe of the way the writer lives among wild creatures in her desert home. I couldn't read it as quickly as I read most memoirs: she forced me to slow down. It's haunting. Going to take me a while to articulate what it meant to me to read.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Erica

    I found this very meditative and healing in its redundancy and quiet study of place and person. And whenever I started to lose interest or feel like we were covering familiar ground (which, also, we were, which was the point), Silko would throw in some observations of the star people or the demise she wished her destructive neighbor, and that would keep me engaged a bit longer.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Barbara

    A lyrical embrace of nature and the supernatural.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Cathy

    This book is a mixed bag. It is a memoir of Leslie Marmon Silko's year (2008) living in her home in the Tucson desert. She believes in spiritual beings, much in the Native American tradition, and she has a great fondness for the many creatures that inhabit her property and the surrounding desert - scorpions, rattlesnakes, great horned owls, Gila monsters, Gila woodpeckers, hummingbirds, and grasshoppers, especially a regal ebony one she calls Lord Chapulin. She doesn't feel so generous toward Lo This book is a mixed bag. It is a memoir of Leslie Marmon Silko's year (2008) living in her home in the Tucson desert. She believes in spiritual beings, much in the Native American tradition, and she has a great fondness for the many creatures that inhabit her property and the surrounding desert - scorpions, rattlesnakes, great horned owls, Gila monsters, Gila woodpeckers, hummingbirds, and grasshoppers, especially a regal ebony one she calls Lord Chapulin. She doesn't feel so generous toward Lord Chapulin's entourage, who demolish her plants, or the pack rat that has built a nest on her property. I found some parts of the book choppy and repetitive, especially where Silko takes her walks on the desert paths and picks up various rocks and pieces of turquoise. I found the descriptions of the various rocks more like a "Field Guide to Rocks and Minerals;" there was no real story, just a bunch of descriptions. It was very hard to keep interested in such details, especially as there were so many of them. The best part of the book regards Silko's greedy neighbor who, with his bulldozer, seems hell-bent on destroying the arroyo where Silko often walks. It seemed he used the boulders he excavated from the arroyo to decorate the yard of his huge property and penitentiary-style two-story house on a hilltop. He had no regard for the natural habitats that the arroyo protected. He was destroying this public land in a greedy and haphazard way, with no care for anything in his path. Silko had reported him to authorities but she felt the officials were corrupt and didn't care to enforce laws protecting the environment and the public lands. Finally, when great horned owls attacked and killed three of her military macaws in two different aviaries, she felt that the negative energy, which seemed out of proportion, must have been caused by the man's destruction of the arroyo: "The suffering and distress of so many living beings from the same location of the desert created an anxious angry energy of conflict that permeated the area. I felt it strongly; the disturbance was real and pervasive, even on a psychic level." Much later, wanting to protect her remaining macaws from the owls, she plugged in "a light and a radio tuned to a right wing talk radio station; my theory is the great horned owls won't be able to concentrate on predations against the macaws in the octagon aviary if they hear the ugliness of the human voices from the radio and see a bright light." I know exactly the kinds of rabid right-wing voices she is speaking of, as we hear all too many of these agitators on the airwaves today. The only thing I worried about was that the poor macaws had to also listen to those hideous voices as well, which must have driven them mad! Later, on many occasions, Silko would get upset every time she came upon more destruction in the arroyo. She didn't know what to do about it. She said: "The Star Beings directed me to paint their glyph, the white cross figure of the star, on all sides of the boulders, and especially on the scars left by the metal claw of the machine or cracks or other damage inflicted by the machine." From this action, she felt the small white crosses "worked a kind of magic. ... all violators would pay terrible consequences." Later, Silko ran into a woman and her two dogs on the arroyo. The woman asked if Silko had seen the "gang graffiti" painted on the rocks (referring to the cross paintings Silko had made on the rocks). She'd had a break-in and had connected her burglary with the "gang graffiti." Says Silko: "In Tucson 'gang' and 'gang graffiti' are code words white people use to indicate young brown or black men who they consider to be 'aliens' even if they were born in Arizona." Silko writes: "This machine man strikes me as the sort who will gouge more boulders from the big arroyo each time the county contacts him, to show his contempt for the government and environmental laws." We all know people like this horrible man, and I hope that Silko's "Star Beings" have slowly worked their magic, resulting in terrible consequences for this greedy man and men like him.

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