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I loved this experience. Karen Rose Richter is an accomplished narrator who gives vivid life to these many characters. Her performance is beautiful. Like another reviewer mentioned, her ability to distinguish between genders and all ages, is great, and one never gets confused about who is speaking. Her tone is just right for this story, warm, sometimes funny, but gentle. The story is interesting. I found the book to be like a fable at least in the first half. Feather goes through many incidents and adventures, and he learns lessons from them. Point of view switches when necessary to tell the story that the author wants to tell. So at first it seemed somewhat shallow prose--but that's only if you're comparing it to any other novel you might have read. The depth is in the mix. The second half of the story gets tense and thrilling.
The spiritual practices and shamanism in the book has a feeling of authenticity, and is described in intricate detail, narratively. I'm not sure, but I think the predictive visions are meant to be fantasy. It is a book that unfolds at its own pace. It is not "a western", or any other distinct genre. Of course, as you're listening, your heart breaks for these wise, gentle people whose way of life is about to be wiped off the face of the earth by history. It was impressive that the wise characters in the story make the point several times that not ALL of the invaders are evil. That they will find friends among them. And then that is demonstrated. That kind of grace is rare in books and in life. While I had minor emotional responses to the first half of the book, the second half pays major dividends. There's so much detail about day to day life, and the spiritual lives of the people, their decisions and thought processes, that the effect becomes profound.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?
Yes. It's unique. I think there are other Native American stories that take place before the coming of white men, but I haven't read them. I don't believe the author depicted a particular tribe; they were more of an amalgam. I recognized several aspects of Plains Indian culture, although the setting was the Southwest (amongst red canyons).
I would call this historical fantasy, but I guess that depends on your own belief system. There was a wild wolf who acted like a puppy-dog and people communicating through dreams and glowing blue. I would have preferred more grounding in reality. I know many of these "fantasy" elements reflect Native American beliefs, but others I question.
I appreciated Standing Deer's attempt to use terminology her characters would have used, à la James Welch--such as calling horses "big dogs" and buffalo "hump backs." Yet she also described things as being the colors of cinnamon and peach, which would both have been unknown to this tribe. Also the preternatural wisdom and endless questions of our young hero did become a bit irritating over time.
Would you be willing to try another book from Ruby Standing Deer? Why or why not?
Perhaps. I know there are two sequels. I worry that they might get repetitive. I feel like I got my fix.
What three words best describe Karen Rose Richter’s performance?
Clear. Deliberate. Heartfelt. I actually found it too deliberate and sped up to 1.25. But then the high-pitched children's voices sounded extra funny.
Could you see Circles being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?
Yes. I would hope they would cast Native American actors! Feather would have to be someone up-and-coming. Adam Beach could play his adoptive father and Irene Bedard could play his mother. Tantoo Cardinal could be his grandmother.
Any additional comments?
I was provided this audiobook at no charge by the narrator in exchange for an unbiased review via AudiobookBlast dot com
2 of 2 people found this review helpful