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Yellow Raft cover
November 2005
A Yellow Raft in Blue Water
by Michael Dorris

A Yellow Raft in Blue Water not only begins and ends with someone braiding hair, but is itself a braid. The novel is woven from the stories of three generations of women: Rayona, a 15-year-old girl of mixed Native and African-American heritage; her Native American mother, Christine; and the intimidating grandmother known to everyone as Aunt Ida. Michael Dorris brings each of them convincingly to life, imbuing them with grace and dignity as they tell their own stories, reflect on their relationships with one another, and insist on their individuality and independence. We watch them endure hardship and betrayal and witness the pain that can be caused by misunderstandings, things left unsaid, and the keeping of secrets. But by shifting perspectives and voices, Dorris also shows us how much they have in common, how inextricably intertwined their lives are, and how much they need one another. Poignant and fascinating as individual strands, these three lives together also make a strong and beautiful braid.

Watch the program

About the program

Blurbs from the book cover

Card catalog entry from the Library of Congress information page

Barnes and Noble information page

The Young Adult Fiction of Michael Dorris—an essay by Jim Charles

Works by Michael Dorris

Michael Dorris

Obituary from the New York Times

Michael Dorris: A Messenger of Hope, Prevention from the March 1997 issue of Iceberg, a newsletter about Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

Audio interview—Dorris talks about the adoption of his children with Don Swaim of CBS Radio.

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