November 23, 2018

Looking Back - A Yellow Raft in Blue Water

Looking Back... In an effort to transfer my book journal entries over to this blog, I'm going to attempt to post (in chronological order) an entry every Friday. I may or may not add extra commentary to what I jotted down in these journals.

A Yellow Raft in Blue Water by Michael Dorris
1988 Warner Books
Finished in January 1998
Rating: 4/5 (Very Good)

Publisher's Blurb:

Michael Dorris has crafted a fierce saga of three generations of Indian women, beset by hardships and torn by angry secrets, yet inextricably joined by the bonds of kinship. Starting in the present day and moving backward, the novel is told in the voices of the three women: fifteen-year-old part-black Rayona; her American Indian mother, Christine, consumed by tenderness and resentment toward those she loves; and the fierce and mysterious Ida, mother and grandmother whose haunting secrets, betrayals, and dreams echo through the years, braiding together the strands of the shared past.

My Original Notes (1998):

Fantastic novel! I loved it and really didn't want it to end. I even put off reading the last chapter, saving it to be read in bed. [No distractions or interruptions.] Ida, Christine and Rayona became my friends and I didn't want them to leave! Beautifully written. Michael Dorris captured the voices of these three women, narrating their thoughts and emotions with superb realism - more so than Wally Lamb did [with his female character] in She's Come Undone. This one did move me to tears. What a shame this talented writer is no longer living.

A saga of three generations. Hardship. Angry secrets. Kinship.

My Current Thoughts:

I'm not certain, but I think I read this a second time and may not have enjoyed it quite as well as this first time. It may be that I went into that second reading knowing about the author's past (alleged sexual abuse with his two daughters; divorce from Louise Erdrich; suicide). 


  1. Sounds like a good book but I think I would like it to go forward, not backwards.

    1. Vicki, I prefer a forward narrative, but at least it wasn't nonlinear. That style annoys me!

  2. Odd how knowing things about an author can affect our view of his or her book. I think we're all susceptible to it to some degree or other.

    1. Debbie, I agree that having an awareness of an author's personal life does have an affect on my view, whether positive or negative, of their book.


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