House Made of Dawn
By: N. Scott Momaday
Harper & Row, 1968
N. Scott Momaday's House Made of Dawn provides an interesting look into the struggles Native Americans who come from reservations to find identity. He follows the life of a young man named Abel who has returned to his reservation in New Mexico after fighting in World War II. He has been deeply affected by the war and struggles to hold a job and maintain relationships. Abel moves to California to try to find himself but eventually realizes that he will only find himself back home on the reservation.
Momaday based his story on his life experiences as a Native American and on the real experiences of other Native Americans. I found the book a bit difficult to follow and was not surprised to discover after reading that it was originally intended to be a collection of poems. There were times that the story felt a bit disjointed for me. I do think that he provides an interesting perspective on real issues for the Native American community and would be interested to hear how Native Americans read it today.