Advertisement

FICTION

FAMILY OF EARTH AND SKY: Indigenous Tales of Nature From Around the World edited by John Elder and Hertha Wong. (Beacon: $30; 323 pp.) In these stories from all over the creation, stories that compose a kind of Bible from the natural world, we receive moral instruction from the animals, and we merge in and out of the animal kingdom, becoming bears and ravens and monkeys and crocodiles. These stories, write the editors in their introduction, “combine the reverberant simplicity of dreams with the texture of close observation.” Taken at once, like a medicine from “Alice in Wonderland,” the reader finds the earth’s horizons unfolding to include upper and lower worlds, sky-dwellers and the “Paradise Beyond the Western Clouds.” Abenaki, Quechua, Aeta, all have explanations (for good and evil, for the loss of paradise, for birth and death) that read well aloud, and may make more sense than the ones we currently use to describe our world.


Advertisement
Advertisement