Author(s): Leslie Marmon Silko
The great Native American Novel of a battered veteran returning home to heal his mind and spirit More than thirty-five years since its original publication, "Ceremony" remains one of the most profound and moving works of Native American literature, a novel that is itself a ceremony of healing. Tayo, a World War II veteran of mixed ancestry, returns to the Laguna Pueblo Reservation. He is deeply scarred by his experience as a prisoner of the Japanese and further wounded by the rejection he encounters from his people. Only by immersing himself in the Indian past can he begin to regain the peace that was taken from him. Masterfully written, filled with the somber majesty of Pueblo myth, "Ceremony" is a work of enduring power. The Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition contains a new preface by the author and an introduction by Larry McMurtry. For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
Leslie Marmon Silko was born in 1948 to a family whose ancestry includes Mexican, Laguna Indian, and European forebears. She has said that her writing has at its core the attempt to identify what it is to be a half-breed or mixed-blood person. As she grew up on the Laguna Pueblo Reservation, she learned the stories and culture of the Laguna people from her great-grandmother and other female relatives. After receiving her B. A. in English at the University of New Mexico, she enrolled in the University of New Mexico law school but completed only three semesters before deciding that writing and storytelling, not law, were the means by which she could best promote justice. She married John Silko in 1970. Prior to the writing of "Ceremony," she published a series of short stories, including The Man to Send Rain Clouds. She also authored a volume of poetry, "Laguna Woman: Poems," for which she received the Pushcart Prize for Poetry.In 1973, Silko moved to Ketchikan, Alaska, where she wrote "Ceremony." Initially conceived as a comic story abut a mother s attempts to keep her son, a war veteran, away from alcohol, "Ceremony" gradually transformed into an intricate meditation on mental disturbance, despair, and the power of stories and traditional culture as the keys to self-awareness and, eventually, emotional healing. Having battled depression herself while composing her novel, Silko was later to call her book a ceremony for staying sane. Silko has followed the critical success of "Ceremony" with a series of other novels, including "Storyteller, Almanac for the Dead," and "Gardens in the Dunes." Nevertheless, it was the singular achievement of "Ceremony" that first secured her a place among the first rank of Native American novelists. Leslie Marmon Silko now lives on a ranch near Tucson, Arizona.Larry McMurtry is the author of twenty-one bestselling novels, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning Lonesome Dove and The Last Picture Show. He lives in Texas."