Friday, October 30, 2009


by James Welch
I had to push myself through THE DEATH OF JIM LONEY (Harper & Row/1979). This was Welch's third novel and a pretty shabby work in comparison to what he would produce in the future (meaning FOOL CROWS and THE HEARTSONG OF CHARGING ELK). I consider Welch one of the best writers I have read. The protagonist, Jim Loney, is a loser from the outset, who in the end is shot to death by an Indian policeman for a killing which was accidental. The novel is primarily a character study of the low-lifes around an Indian reservation in Montana. Loney is a half breed, torn between two cultures, and is an uneducated, aimless wino. He has a sister, who wants to rescue him as does his attractive girlfriend, a white school teacher from Texas. He doesn't want to be saved because of the emptiness of his soul. He has never recovered from being abandoned, along with his sister, by his reckless mother and his drunken father. Had this been the first Welch book I read, I would have skipped the others at a great loss to myself since his later books are wonders to be treasured.

A suggestion: My novel, THE PENCIL ARTIST is available as an e-book on Smashwords, Kindle, and Barnes and Noble; as a paperback on Amazon.

No comments: