Rain Taxi reviews Carnival Lights

By Shannon Gibney

An impressive work about family, survival, and what one character calls the “spiral” of all stories, Chris Stark’s Carnival Lights is part novel, part Minnesota history, part spiritual tome, and part brutal account of white racial and sexual violence. Centering on several generations of one Ojibwe family in both the northern and southern parts of the state and spanning the years 1860 to 1969, the book deftly shows how whites used land theft, intimidation, and sheer force to try to exterminate and remove Native communities, but also how the victims resisted and fought to keep their ways of life.

Even through so much devastation and loss, Carnival Lights asserts that the land—and everything living on it—remembers. At one point Sher recalls finding her father frozen to death in a field:

The trees, their outstretched arms and fingers cradling delicate lines of snow, heard and saw all of it, and it became part of them, recorded in their beings, in their flesh. Ring after ring, year after year, the Standing People recorded the story of the land. They absorbed, held, witnessed. The Standing People. The libraries of the earth. The collectors of knowledge, their limbs arching over the land, over life. Holding. Bending. Protecting.

The Standing People bearing witness to horrible acts of violence against the Ojibwe is one of the central themes in the book, and it provides a sense of accountability, if not consequence, for the ongoing and pernicious attacks.

Read the full review on Rain Taxi

Nickels: A tale of dissociation

SKU 978-1-61599-050-4
$19.95
In stock
1
Product Details
UPC: 978-1-61599-050-4
Brand: Modern History Press
Binding: Paperback
Edition: 1st
Author: Chris Stark
Pages: 229

"...a perfect genius that makes the impossible in expression, possible; the
unknowable in experience, knowable"
--Anya Achtenberg, author of The Stories of Devil-Girl

Nickels follows a biracial girl named "Little Miss So and So", from age 4-1/2 into adulthood. Told in a series of prose poems, Nickels'
lyrical and inventive language conveys the dissociative states born of a world formed by persistent and brutal incest and homophobia.
The dissociative states enable the child's survival and, ultimately, the adult's healing. The story is both heartbreaking and triumphant.
Nickels is the groundbreaking debut of Minneapolis-area author and artist Christine Stark.

"Christine Stark has crafted a language and a diction commensurate with the shredding of consciousness that is a consequence of
childhood sexual abuse. She brings us a wholly original voice in a riveting novel of desperation and love. Every sentence vibrates with
a terrible beauty. Every sentence brings the news."
--Patricia Weaver Francisco, author of Telling: A Memoir of Rape and Recovery

"To be taken into the mind of a child can be an enchanting adventure, but to be taken into the mind of a child who is abused, confused, and taken for granted is a lingering, livid journey. I applaud her fortitude to bring an olden--too long ignored--truth out of the darkness with blazing, innovative light."
--MariJo Moore, author of The Diamond Doorknob

"In Nickels, Christine Stark, powerfully portrays the story of abuse and its impact on our lives. When this beautifully written and compelling story leaves, you are left wanting more. It's riveting; a book that will capture you from the beginning and carry you through the end. Everyone should read this book."
--Olga Trujillo, author of The Sum of My Parts

From the Reflections of America Series at Modern History Press www.ModernHistoryPress.com

Learn more at www.ChristineStark.com

FIC044000 Fiction : Contemporary Women
FIC018000 Fiction : Lesbian
SOC010000 Social Science : Feminism & Feminist Theory

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