Wednesday, August 21, 2013

New Mexico Lit: Jajedeh

Credit: Amazon

Jajadeh, written by Harry Hoge, is a work of fiction based on the facts of Apache interactions with the Spaniards, Mexicans, and Americans who laid claim to the same lands as the Apache.

The story begins in the early 1600s with the Apache-Spanish era, and ends circa 1865 with the death of Mangas Coloradas in the Apache-Mexican-American era.

Overall, Jajadeh is successful as a means of delivering historical information in story form. It kept my interest throughout. It is also further evidence that the very things you would believe to be fabricated because they sound so outlandish, are the things that are true. Examples include the abominations delivered upon men, women, and children of all sides. 

I do have some quibbles, however.

For example, I felt a little exasperated with the stereotypical "hands on hips, feet apart" for at least two of the women in the story, like "spitfire" Maureen O'Hara in a movie with John Wayne. I also didn't get the sudden marital turn-off between one of the early protagonists and his wife. Where'd that come from?

I thought I would learn the story behind the crown dancers (one of which is featured prominently on the book jacket), but the dance was only barely alluded to. I also didn't understand why Mr. Hoge chose to use the (apparently archaic) term "jajadeh" instead of the modern-day term "ga'an" or "gan" or "ga he" to refer to the  Mountain Spirit.

But overall, again, Jajadeh is an educational, enlightening, and interesting read.

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