A Yellow Raft in Blue Water: A Novel
by Michael Dorris
Paperback- $9.86

Michael Dorris has crafted a fierce saga of three generations of Indian women, beset by hardships and torn by angry secrets, yet ...

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  "This book should have five stars. I erred in selection." by kkelly106 (see profile) 11/06/08

I first read this book about 18 years ago. It brought tears to my eyes. I read it again recently, and though I was not as moved, probably due to the hardening influence of passing time, I found it to still possess keen insight into the feelings of women in various stages of a difficult life. This is all the more remarkable considering it is the sole work of a man, an author whose own story is, to me, a tragedy.

  "Great premise sure to inspire much discussion" by FTessa (see profile) 04/10/12

Dorris braids a single story told in reverse chronological order, from three unique perspectives. Rayona, a 15-year-old “half-breed,” begins the story, relaying her efforts to raise her own irresponsible mother. We then move to Ray’s mother, Christine, who recounts her struggles growing up and rebelling against her unaffectionate mother, Aunt Ida. Finally we hear from Aunt Ida, the matriarch of the family, whose secrets have shaped her daughter and granddaughter in ways she never intended.

It’s a great premise for a literary work. However, I don’t think Dorris succeeds in his execution. I really grew to care about Rayona, but then her story ends abruptly and Dorris transfers the tale to Christine. Because they are both portrayed as so unfeeling and irresponsible, I had a hard time caring about Christine or Aunt Ida, though I did begin to empathize with Ida when she finally tells her story in part three. HERE is a story I really want to know more about. But Dorris ends the book abruptly … almost mid-sentence.

I’m left feeling very dissatisfied, and almost as if I wasted my time reading this. However, after attending our book club meeting, I see much more in the book. We had a great discussion about a number of issues. I still give it only 2 stars, because I didn't like it, although I do appreciate it a bit more after our discussion.

  "A Yellow Raft in Blue Water" by cmcfar (see profile) 09/27/13

I am an avid reader & usually love books about women in different cultures. Although having a great deal of symbolism and beautiful writing, this book is extremely dark and depressing. The ending is so abrupt, with so many unanswered questions, that it left me totally frustrated. Read Hoffman's "The Dovekeepers"!!

  "Darkness with Redemption" by Bookbabe1 (see profile) 11/17/17

I have heard comments from people saying they didn't like this book because it was dark and difficult to read. Well it is dark and it had to be - the lives chronicled in these interwoven stories faced many often seemingly insurmountable troubles. The culture they live in is dark and troubling filled with stereotypes that are difficult to rise above. This book should be read if only to try to see the world through the eyes of someone different from you. The writing is gorgeous, the landscape and people filled in with brushstrokes of descriptive prose. The narrative style of seeing the same events viewed through three different eyes adds depth and understanding to the story. The ending is ambiguous which also bothers some readers but I think a reader should bring their thoughts and ideas into a book and should on their own be able to add their ending. Hollywood is also always hitting us over the head with pat endings and I much prefer this style. The opportunities for discussion are myriad and I think it is a great selection to read and hopefully learn from.

  "" by [email protected] (see profile) 10/10/18

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