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Michael Dorris Books In Order

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

A Yellow Raft in Blue Water (1987)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Crown of Columbus (With: Louise Erdrich) (1991)Description / Buy at Amazon
Sees Behind Trees (1996)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Window (With: Ken Robbins) (1997)Description / Buy at Amazon
Cloud Chamber (1997)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Short Stories/Novellas

Publication Order of Collections

Working Men: Stories (1993)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

Guide to Research on North American Indians (With: Arlene B. Hirschfelder) (1983)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Broken Cord (1989)Description / Buy at Amazon
Route Two (With: Louise Erdrich) (1990)Description / Buy at Amazon
Rooms in the House of Stone: The "Thistle" Series of Essays (1993)Description / Buy at Amazon
Paper Trail (1994)Description / Buy at Amazon
Guests (1995)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Most Wonderful Books: Writers on Discovering the Pleasures of Reading (1997)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Anthologies

Growing Up Native American(1993)Description / Buy at Amazon
Rethinking Popular Culture and Media(2011)Description / Buy at Amazon

About Michael Dorris
An influential American author during his lifetime, Michael Dorris would write a number of important key works throughout the course of his literary career. Producing intelligent and thoughtfully written novels, he established himself as a strong and creative novelist with a lot to say. Writing both short and long fiction, he’d also write children’s books, reaching a large amount of readers from all over the world. He’d also write a number of non-fiction books too, often focusing on his field in anthropology, as this was also something that studied during his life.

Often he would write about subjects that were close to him, as he’d always remain close to his write, making it feel a lot more authentic and real in the process. With something interesting to say in each and every one of his books, he would always contain a deeper message that was core to all of his work. This saw him become a much loved household name for many, with a wide ranging audience appreciating his novels far and wide. He would also often look at Native American culture and history, as this was an aspect of his own roots and heritage through his father’s side.

Many of the characters in his books were also inspired by real people in his own life, as he’d take in inspiration from the world around him. This would make his books easier to relate to, as the characters and people within them resonated upon the page. Leaving an impact with the reader, they definitely made their mark, staying with the audience long after they’d put the book down. Leaving behind a legacy that is still felt to this very day, more and more readers discover his books with each passing year.

Early and Personal Life
Born in Louisville, Kentucky, in the United State on the 30th of January 1945, Michael Dorris would grow up with a strong passion for reading and writing. Spending summers during his childhood on reservations with his father’s relatives, he’d always be taking in new ideas and inspiration. These reservations would be based around Montana as well as Washington State, and he would also get raised by his stepfather too.

Attending Georgetown University in 1967, Dorris would receive a BA in English and Classics, before going on to gain a Master’s Degree in anthropology from Yale University in 1971. This would then see him go on to become an activist, helping different Native Alaskan and Native American communities. He would also become one of the first unmarried men in America to adopt a three-year old son named Reynold Abel, something which would greatly inspire him.

Writing Career
In 1987 Michael Dorris would write his first novel titled ‘A Yellow Raft in Blue Water,’ which would be an entirely stand-alone title. Dorris would focus on stand-alone novels, using real-world settings, often looking at the lives of Native Americans and their history. This could also be seen in his extensive academic work, as he would teach on the subject too, while writing as well.

He would also write with his wife, the author Louise Eldrich, who he would marry in 1981, as they would often work together. His 1989 novel, ‘The Broken Cord,’ based upon his adopted son’s condition of fetal alcohol syndrome, would win the 1989 National Book Critic’s Circle Award for General Nonfiction, and would help pass legislation warning of the dangers of drinking alcohol while pregnant. This has seen his name go on to become one of the leading names within his field, as his legacy continues to grow.

A Yellow Raft in Blue Water
First published through the ‘Picador USA’ publishing outlet, this would first come out on the 1st of January in 1987. Marking the literary debut of Dorris as an author, it would see him establishing himself as an author for the very first time. It would be a stand-alone title following the history of the Native Americans, making for an intelligent and well told novel.

This is a creative and gentle story filled with plenty of character and heart, as it really gets to the core of its subject matter. Knowing the subject well, Dorris is definitely well versed here, really knowing the people and the world they inhabit inside out. This allows the reader to fully immerse themselves within it, getting to feel as if they’re actually there living it.

Featuring the stories of three generations of Native American women, this looks at the bonds of their kinship through the ages. There’s the fifteen-year old Rayona, her mother Christine who’s filled with both tenderness and resentment for her loved one, and Ida, mother and grandmother, with her own secrets and mysteries. Together they all share the secrets of the past and history, looking back through the ages, right up to the present day. Where will their journey take them? Who will they meet along the way? What will they all find upon a yellow raft in blue water?

The Window
Initially released through the ‘Little, Brown Books for Young Readers’ publishing outlet, this would first come out in 1997 on the 1st of January. Not being being a part of any overall series, it would feature another story with a historical undertone to it. Using realistic settings and people, it does feature characters from his previous book ‘A Yellow Raft in Blue Water,’ although it works on its own.

Featuring the character of Rayona once again, she was one year older and sixteen in the other 1997 book ‘Cloud Chamber.’ This book provides a prologue in that it shows her at eleven, depicting the events that led up to the previous books. Looking at the development of her as a character, it charts a way of life and entire history as seen through her eyes.

With her mother continually being away more and more on increasingly frequent nights out, eleven year old Rayona Taylor is often left on her own. That’s when her father decides she needs a new place to stay, but not with him, as he arranges for her to be taken care of by a succession of foster-care parents. This doesn’t work out so well, and she’s taken to the father’s parents, along with her aunt and grandmother, where they look after her. How will her world change though? Will life ever truly be the same again? What will she see from the window?

Book Series In Order » Authors » Michael Dorris

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