THE TURTLE WARRIOR by Mary Relindes Ellis
Publisher Penguin/Putnam, February 2004
THE TURTLE WARRIOR is a work of fiction created from the layers of life in a surprisingly isolated region, a landscape of multiple ethnicities forgotten by most of America. In her gorgeous writing of the natural world, Ellis illuminates through fiction her deeply held belief that children like animals, in an effort to survive, instinctively seek from their physical environment and from others what their own families cannot provide; and that as the traditional Ojibwe have always known, wisdom and clarity can come from a turtle.
"THE TURTLE WARRIOR is a strong, bold novel that cuts a hard
bargain between violence and forgiveness. Ellis writes about a family you’d
never want to be a part of, but it is one you will never forget. An
astonishing and eloquent debut by a writer you’ll hear from again."
"Like her literary predecessors Willa Cather and Sherwood
Anderson, Mary Relindes Ellis vividly renders the isolated beauty of the
American Midwest, yet her ultimate territory is the complex topography of
the human heart. With an astonishing empathy that refuses limits--of good
and evil, even of life and death--Ellis depicts her characters’
struggles to overcome the bleak promise of their circumstances. THE TURTLE
WARRIOR is a remarkable novel."
THE TURTLE WARRIOR is filled with family secrets and devastating abuse,
yet ultimately weaves an unexpected healing, one that springs not only
from human compassion, but from an unexpected, supernatural source. With
shining prose, Mary Relindes Ellis sweeps us into the perfectly rendered
world of Northern Wisconsin and the engrossing lives of two brothers,
their heartbreaking mother and the Native American neighbor who mediates
the story's redemption. This powerful novel will affect you deeply and
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