Roanhorse Summary

We talked about Rebecca Roanhorse’s award winning book “Trail of Lightning” (not Lighting, see below) in our last session of this semester. Thank you, brave souls, for being there. (You can still catch up on Roanhorse: email me and I can give you a copy!)

We all liked this very fast-paced, Navajo inspired urban fantasy novel:
– even though the beginning was confusing, it was nice to have to research to know what is going on
– Maggie as a character is complex and likeable, traumatic past was believable and not stereotypical
– gory beginning was shocking, especially because of the first person narration
– story wasn’t forseeable, thus entertaining and it mixed many different stories together
– clan powers are super cool magic although confusing

Things we discussed:
– some of us would have preferred it to be less fast-paced and would love to see the world-building expanded, and we would also like to know more about what happened to the rest of the world
– sixth World not explained: creation myth of Navajo People –> read up on the first five worlds here (super entertaining and interesting!): https://www.firstpeople.us/FP-Html-Legends/TheFirstWorld-Navajo.html
– we loved Coyote, the trickster God, but not what happened in the end of the novel
– pronunciation of names was hard –> audiobook might have been helpful
– cultural Appropriation discussion: Roanhorse was accused by some Navajo people of cultural appropriation as she is not of Navajo heritage herself (though married to a Navajo person + she has lived and worked in this culture for a long time): https://newsmaven.io/indiancountrytoday/opinion/trail-of-lightning-is-an-appropriation-of-din%C3%A9-cultural-beliefs-4tvSMvEfNE-i7AE10W7nQg/ —> We, as white privileged people, do not have an opinion that counts or matters in this context, however we believe that writers should not merely be limited to what they know (which is also problematic in itself, e.g. queer people only allowed to write about queer issues etc.), yet caution, research, respect (and maybe sensitivity readers) should be employed in connection to literary freedom. People from the specific groups can then be judge.

You will find answers Roanhorse provided for my class on Discord! 🙂

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