The story of Ignacia Vigil Romero, a full Jacarilla Apache, and the two boys, Mister and Tomás, she raised to adulthood unfolds in a barrio of Taos, New Mexicoa mixed community of Native Americans, Hispanics, and whites. Now deceased, Ignacia, a curanderaa medicine woman, though some say a witchbegins this tale of star-crossed lovers.
Mister and Tomás, best friends until their late teens, both fall for Rocky, a gringa of some mystery, a girl Tomás takes for himself. But in a moment of despair, a pledge between the young men leads to murder. When Ignacia falls silent, police reports, witness statements, and caseworker interviews draw an electrifying portrait of a troubled community and of the vulnerable players in this mounting tragedy. Set in a terrain that becomes a character in its own right, The Ghost of Milagro Creek brilliantly illuminates this hidden corner of American society.
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"Well written, with intriguing characters, the novel illuminates a part of American society not often described in fiction." - Booklist
"Sumners prose hums with ancestral myths to craft a tale less about Mister and more about the wrecked history of his entire community." - Oxford American, The Southern Magazine of Good Writing
"I found this novel worth my time, and so feel it will be worth yours, especially if you have an interest in New Mexico, in American Indian cosmology, in narrative structure and approaches, in good storytelling." - The Rumpus
"The multifaceted narrative moves forward and backward in time until a picture emerges - one strand at a time, much like the basket-weaving Ignacia's tribe is known for..." - Atlanta-Journal Constitution
"An ambitiously complicated broth of content with surprisingly little flavor." - Kirkus Reviews
"Readers will be fascinated by Sumner's Taos, but may find the central drama between Mister and Rocky unsatisfying." - Publishers Weekly
"A 'ghost' story woven with teen love and tragedy ... Distinguished by its setting in the historically rich and evocative landscape of Taos, N.M. [Sumner] draws upon the area's natural beauty, and its Hispanic, Pueblo, Apache and Anglo roots, as the backdrop to an intricately woven tale of a community at risk." - Jane Ciabattari, NPR.org
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Melanie Sumner is an American novelist. She grew up in Rome, Georgia as a child and graduated from University of North Carolina and Boston University.
She is the author of The School of Beauty and Charm, a novel, and Polite Society, stories. A graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, she earned her MFA from Boston University and was the recipient of a Whiting award in fiction in 1995. She won a National Endowment for the Arts Literary Fellowship in 2010.
She currently lives in Rome, Georgia, and teaches creative writing at Kennesaw State University.
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