snippets from books

“I’m looking for my daughter.”  My father’s voice didn’t sound normal when he talked to the woman–I guess you could say it sounded kinda shaky.  “The police told me that she got killed, but I didn’t remember to find out what they did with her.”

The woman put down her magazine real fast and stood up.  I could tell that hearing him say that had made her nervous by the way she started round the desk toward where we were sanding and then jut sort of backed away and looked helpless, like she wished somebody in charge would come out so that she wouldn’t have to deal with this kind of business.

“Oh my,” she said.  “Was there a wreck?  I didn’t hear about any wrecks last night.”

She began to shuffle through some papers on the desk.  “I’m sure they must have gone to Farmington, though,” she said.  “The ambulance wouldn’t bring anyone here if it was serious, this is just a health clinic, you know.  What was the patient’s name, sir?

I could see that woman’s hands were shaking as she fumbled with the papers.  I can remember that she had real red hair–not real-looking, just real red.

“Bernadette,” he told her.  “Bernadette George is my daughter’s name.”

“No. . . . No, I don’t see that we’ve had anyone by that name here,” the woman.  “If it was the tribal police that called you maybe you should check with them, Mr. George.”

“My name is Edwin Lefthand,” he told her.  “Not George.  My father is married to Anderson George.  The cops came to my house a little while ago,” he said.  “They told me Bernadette was killed, but it wasn’t in no car wreck.”

My Daddy’s voice sounded funny to me.  “We forgot to find out what they did with her,” he told the woman.  “and we got to get her and take her home.”

Quote from William Eastlake:  The Death of Bernadette Lefthand tells us what it’s like to view the modern white man’s world through the eyes of a people who still have the values that they held before the white man came.

Tony Hillerman:  Ron Querry has given us the best novel of its type since Leslie Silko’s Ceremony.  The Death of Bernadette Lefthand should rank among the classics of American fiction.  It’s a beautiful, moving book.



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