The Death of Bernadette Lefthand
By Ron Querry
(Bantam, Paperback, 9780553375367, 228pp.)
Publication Date: June 1, 1995
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Winner of two regional book awards and overwhelming praise, this haunting first novel about the mysterious death of a young Indian dancer is a stunning portrayal of the spirit and struggles of the Southwest's native peoples.
Even today, amid the sere hills of Arizona and New Mexico, the Navajo believe witchcraft is at work. Some suspect it is the unseen force behind the brutal murder of Bernadette Lefthand, a young woman renowned on the Jicarilla Apache reservation for her beauty and graceful dancing. Others suspect Bernadette's hard-drinking husband, Anderson George, who has inexplicably disappeared. Gracie, Bernadette's teenage sister, tries to make sense of the vortex of doom in which the young couple seems to have been caught, while Bernadette's Anglo employer, Starr Stubbs, and an unnamed stranger reveal a tale of betrayal and tragedy.
In prose rich with the rhythms and colors of the desert highways, Ron Querry--a member of the Choctaw Nation--paints a vivid portrait of the lives of contemporary Native Americans. A riveting tale of passion, obsession, and destruction, The Death of Bernadette Lefthand is a compelling novel about heritage, family, and the dark magic of the twisted soul.