"Abel walked into the canyon. His return to town had been a failure, for all his looking forward. He had tried in the days that followed to speak to his grandfather, but he could not say the things he wanted; he had tried to pray, to sing, to enter into the old rhythm of the tongue, but he was no longer attuned to it."
Things get worse. In 1952 he ends up in Los Angeles, just out of prison, still lost, and still drinking too much.
Momaday's writing is very descriptive and poetic, though not always straightforward. There are jumps in time and narrative voice that I found confusing in places; there's also a dream-like, surreal quality to his slowly unfolding narrative that I didn't love. It made it hard to connect to Abel. In fact, over half of the novel isn't even told from his point of view. The author gives the reader glimpses from his past, and one memory from his time in the war, and a few scenes with him in Los Angeles, but the biggest part of his story is related by his roommate, Ben. It's a unique way to tell a story but one that didn't quite work for me.
Abel's story is very sad, and I had a lot of sympathy for him. And I thought this novel was interesting. But I didn't love it. Still, I'm not sorry I read it. Especially because it counts as my "Classic by a BIPOC Author" for Karen's Back to the Classics Challenge.
For a much better review of this book, check out Kathy's at Reading Matters; she's the one who first made me aware of this classic novel.