Leslie Marmon Silko's groundbreaking book Storyteller, first published in 1981, blends original short stories and poetry influenced by the traditional oral tales that she heard growing up on the Laguna Pueblo in New Mexico with autobiographical passages, folktales, family memories, and photographs. As she mixes traditional and Western literary genres, Silko examines themes of memory, alienation, power, and identity; communicates Native American notions regarding time, nature, and spirituality; and explores how stories and storytelling shape people and communities. Storyteller illustrates how one can frame collective cultural identity in contemporary literary forms, as well as illuminates the importance of myth, oral tradition, and ritual in Silko's own work. This edition includes a new introduction by Silko and previously unpublished photographs.
In 1973, Silko moved to Ketchikan, Alaska, where she wrote Ceremony. Initially conceived as a comic story abut a mother’s attempts to keep her son, a war veteran, away from alcohol, Ceremony gradually transformed into an intricate meditation on mental disturbance, despair, and the power of stories and traditional culture as the keys to self-awareness and, eventually, emotional healing. Having battled depression herself while composing her novel, Silko was later to call her book “a ceremony for staying sane.” Silko has followed the critical success of Ceremony with a series of other novels, including Storyteller, Almanac for the Dead, and Gardens in the Dunes. Nevertheless, it was the singular achievement of Ceremony that first secured her a place among the first rank of Native American novelists. Leslie Marmon Silko now lives on a ranch near Tucson, Arizona.