"Suicide was common among the Apaches of Southern New Mexico." So begins Dan McCall's stunning recreation of two years in the life of an inexperienced young surgeon at a small hospital on a Native American reservation. Among courageous, stoic people burdened by a cruel history and beleaguered by poverty and alcoholism, Jim, fresh out of medical school, learns the healing power of compassion from a beautiful, talented Sioux-Lakota nurse and schoolteacher - Annie Messenger Bird.A searing portrait of the grim realities of the reservation, Messenger Bird is peopled by characters so full of life that even the dailiness of tragedy cannot quite defeat them: Barnabas Lester, the Dartmouth-educated Apache chief who, working within the system for his people's benefit, is accused of being the white man's pawn; Max Rubenstein, a brilliant gay surgeon with a welcome flair for comedy; Silas Lester, a teenage rebel whose love of his people and passion for change lead him into the radical American Indian Movement; and, of course, Silas's mother, Annie Messenger Bird, whose singular grace endures even when her own body turns against her.Messenger Bird is a story of quiet, practical heroism in the midst of senseless violence and despair; of how doctoring triumphs and how it fails, especially faced with the larger ills of society; and of the courage and love that transcend both politics and race. In McCall's unsentimental telling, one young doctor's experience becomes a window onto a troubled, hybrid American culture in which the humane practice of medicine - however flawed - can still provide a glimpse of the fragility and beauty of life.
- Hardback | 208 pages
- 139.7 x 213.36 x 22.86mm | 385.55g
- 01 Apr 1993
- Houghton Mifflin Harcourt P
- United States