Perma Red

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Product Details
$18.00  $16.74
Milkweed Editions
Publish Date
5.4 X 8.4 X 1.1 inches | 1.1 pounds

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About the Author
Debra Magpie Earling is the author of Perma Red and The Lost Journals of Sacajewea. An earlier version of the latter, written in verse, was produced as an artist book during the bicentennial of the Lewis and Clark expedition. She has received both a National Endowment for the Arts grant and a Guggenheim Fellowship. She retired from the University of Montana where she was named professor emeritus in 2021. She is Bitterroot Salish.
Winner of the American
Book Award, the Reading the West Book Award, and the Western Writers of
American Spur Award for Best Novel of the West

"Perma Red intertwines land and people with the invisible forces of society, nature, and what may exist beyond that, using exquisite sentences that turn into page after page of unforgettable rhythm."--Elissa Washuta, The Atlantic, The Great American Novels in the Last 100 Years
"Perma Red has no equal. You will be mesmerized by the poetically intimate prose, the realistically graphic details of life on a Montana Indian reservation, and the humor, love and pain you'll experience through these richly drawn, honest characters. As another of Montana's greatest writers, James Welch, put it: Perma Red 'borders on mythic . . . a wonder-filled gift to all.'"--Mark Gibbons, NPR"Boldly drawn and passionate."--Louise Erdrich, author of The Sentence"Transcendent, powerful, and has a gravity all its own."--Jamie Ford,

"Spare, tough-minded and big hearted."--USA
"[Perma Red has] beautiful language, complex characters, a legitimate and earned sense of where you are in the story. It's also a gnarly, unflinching look at violence against women. The writing is lovely, emotionally resonant and filled to the brim with depthand pathos for the Flathead and the people who live there. But it's a novel ofpain and sorrow first and foremost, and it's a pain and sorrow that looks a lot like it has for the last half millenia."--Thomas Plank, Missoulian

"Dreamy and lyrical, frequently achieving a
shimmering beauty."--The Oregonian

"A fever of a story, keenly fighting for air
and answers."--San Francisco Chronicle

"It's not just erotic desire that [Earling]
does so well. . . . Louise's world is one in which all the senses are always on
hyper-alert. . . . This young girl's struggle to save her own life makes for a
novel that has you on hyper-alert as you read: alive, alive to
the world it conjures."--Alan Cheuse, NPR

"Haunting and memorable . . . Earling's
deliberate pacing gives an otherworldly feel to the grim circumstances of the
time, and makes real the hypnotic effect of this slim, green-eyed woman on the
men around her."--Seattle Times

"Beautifully written . . . Establishes Earling
as the literary heir to great American Indian writers such as James Welch and
Louise Erdrich."--Minneapolis Star Tribune

"A new writer comes straight at us out of the
West, bypassing the conscious mind in describing her world of Indian
reservations, so that we almost smell that world before we understand it. . . .
[Earling's] writing is the most physical I have read in a long time. . . .
Verbs and adjectives dance in new configurations. All this and plot too."--Los
Angeles Times

"What a story! Vivid and startling, this heartbreaking novel tells the story of Louise White Elk, a wild and unattainable girl growing to womanhood on the Flathead Reservation in Northwest Montana. Beautiful but crushed by poverty and the sorrow inflicted by the clash of cultures, harsh circumstance, and the friction between love and power, Louise is pursued by several men. A wealthy white land speculator and a rodeo cowboy tempt her. The tribal policeman who tries repeatedly to save her cannot subdue his tainted motives. But it is the violent, unpredictable Baptiste Yellowknife, with his connection to the old ways, who holds great power over her. Though she uses each to help her find her way, no one and nothing is simple here. These complex characters and the rough beauty of the Flathead Reservation will stay with you long after you close the cover."--Keelin Kane, Next Chapter Books, St. Paul, MN"From the very first sentence of Perma Red by Debra Magpie Earling, Louise White Elk's struggle is unrelenting, swallowing readers into a story that shocks, and somehow, brims with complicated, raw hope."--Maggie Doherty, Flathead Beacon"I was captivated by Louise While Elk as she struggles to retain her Indigenous identity and ways while trying to break free from all the barriers and biases against women and Native peoples in 1940s Montana."--Jennifer Wood, East City Bookshop, Washington, DC "Louise White Elk grows up on the Flathead Indian Reservation in Montana. Her experiences are defined by the lack of opportunities, and it's a rough ride filled with many challenges. What are the best choices when none of them are good? It's great that Milkweed is bringing back this twenty-year-old novel in a new edition. It's just as timely as when it was written."--Todd Miller, Arcadia Books, Spring Green, WI"Earling is a talent to treasure. . . . Beauty
lies in [her] writing. Her words are spare, like the landscape and the bleak
hearts of those who judge and torment Louise. Her words are sharp, biting, like
the snakes that slither through the tale. Her words are honed to bare Louise's
wounds."--Billings Gazette

"A haunting tale of persecution, brutality and
prejudice . . . paint[ing] a powerful picture of man's inhumanity to man--one as
dark and uncaring as Montana's midnight landscapes."--Texas Observer

"Superb . . . A love story of uncommon depth
and power, a love story that is as painful as it is transcendent, a love story
in which the lovers . . . are unwilling to diminish themselves in the act of
joining together but are equally unable to turn away."--Booklist"This is a book I've read again and again, and each time I do, Earling's words are a treasured and welcomed power."--Sasha LaPointe, Publishers Weekly, "10 Books by Native Authors That Left Their Mark on Me"

"Poignant . . . Earling offers first-rate
characterizations, and she does an equally fine job portraying tribal life in
the Flatland Nation."--Publishers Weekly

"Perma Red is a startlingly
spiritual novel of the lives and loves and heartbreak on a Montana Indian
reservation. The characters, especially the strangely destructive lovers,
Louise and Baptiste, are so sharply drawn that they will bring tears to your
eyes. And the landscape, the richly detailed backdrop against which these
characters play out their roles, adds a dimension that borders on mythic. Debra
Magpie Earling is a truly gifted writer, and Perma Red is a
wonder-filled gift to all of us."--James Welch, author of Fools Crow

"In the deep wells of compassion for her
people, and with her stunning eye for the rituals of their existence, Earling
reminds us that the greatest writing is always about matters of the human
heart."--Larry Brown, author of Joe

"Perma Red is a terrific novel,
tough-minded, gritty, and powerful . . . rich with stories of such elemental
truth that they have the resonance of sacred songs, the lingering effect of
legends. I haven't read a novel that affected me this much since I first
encountered Leslie Silko's Ceremony."--James Crumley, author
of The Last Good Kiss

"With Perma Red, Debra Magpie Earling finally steps
forward after two decades and delivers a book as permanently beautiful as the
Montana landscape itself. I find it hard, if not impossible, to shake Earling's
book from my mind. To paraphrase another Big Sky writer, Norman Maclean, I am
haunted by words."--David Abrams, author of Fobbit