Recently widowed, and encouraged by government relocation schemes to move Native Americans off their reservations, Betty takes her four young children from their Ojibwe roots to make a new life in Minneapolis. Her younger son Lester finds romance on the soon-to-be-demolished train, The Hiawatha, while his older brother Simon takes a dangerous job scaling skyscrapers. Their fates collide, and result in a tale of crime, punishment, and redemption.
An elegy to the American dream, and to the sometimes tragic experience of the Native Americans who helped to build it, The Hiawatha is a powerful novel that confirms David Treuer's status as a young writer of rare talent.
"Treuer is truly an original voice."—The San Francisco Chronicle
"The Hiawatha is a work of secret vision . . . enlarging his narrative beyond mere human interaction and elevating it to the level of myth."—David Ulin, Newsday
"A story lyrical in its sadness, one demonstrating that most precious and rare of writerly gifts: the ability to reach equally well into both the heart and the mind of the reader."—Kirkus Reviews
"A remarkable novel . . . Treuer tells a story about an extended American Indian family, but it is really an American tale."—St. Paul Pioneer Press