Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Running Alone in photographs: A Novel by Robert Mirabal

I have followed Robert Mirabal's music for years now. I saw both he and bother Patrick (see below) in concert. I'd read Robert's poem, "They Survive" in Po'pay: Leader of the First American Revolution. Now Robert Mirabal has written a novel, Running Alone in photographs, that reads like a combination of his music and poetry.

Reyes Kristina Wind is a young American Indian Woman from Santa Teresa Pueblo in New Mexico, an artist who lives for her music and travels the world on a quest for something she can't quite name and from which alcohol and drugs will not provide escape. She never knew her father––a vet whose soul was destroyed in Vietnam––hardly knows her mother––who spent most of her life searching after her lost love––but she has an advantage over many of the other Pueblo youth she knows. She was raised by traditional grandparents who taught her to love the land and the things that grow in it.

The entire novel is framed in a few hours of Reyes' memories after returning to Santa Teresa for her grandmother's funeral. One imagines that Santa Teresa serves as a stand-in for Mirabal's home of Taos––once a haven for artists, then hippies, and now a tourist attraction––and Reyes, at times, serves as Mirabal's alter ego providing that much more depth and truth to the story.

This is a very interior novel, but in the tradition of American Indian writing that explores connections with the natural world that surrounds us. Anyone who has read my blogs knows I love Native American literature for the beautiful language and imagery that seems to come naturally to a culture with a story-telling tradition. Mirabal's prose is no exception. There were just a few spots where he seemed to fall into stream of consciousness, and in those few instances I had trouble picking up the thread. However, over all, this is a beautiful story told in beautiful prose and I am looking forward to reading more from Robert Mirabal if he can miraculously find the time in his busy career.

Couldn't resist adding these photos. Below I pose with Patick Mirabal in 2007 (I'm on the right and I've lost a few pounds since then).


Anonymous said...

This is a fine review of a very fine book. To me, the most haunting part is the section on the lake. Reyes communicated with the devil, making a very similar deal to the one made at the Cross Roads by Robert Johnson... Yet it is the prose that makes the whole story so tough to put down. Highly recommended!!!
Pegasus, Taos, New Mexico

Anonymous said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


Nannette Croce said...

It's always nice to receive feedback. Thanks for the comments. I hope I can keep it interesting.