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Everett, Percival. Watershed.

Beacon. 199p. c1996. 0-8070-8361-5. $14.00. A

There's something terribly wrong on the Plata Reservation in Colorado. The water levels in the creeks are not normal, and Native American activists are implicated in the murder of two FBI agents at the lake. Vacationing hydrologist Robert Hawks, who has problems of his own, is drawn into the controversy. Although the disparate parts of this fast-moving novel don't always jell, there's enough here to recommend it to more mature readers. Sherman Alexie, in his angry introduction, touches on one of the central issues. Hawks is an African-American whose father and grandfather taught him to be wary and skeptical, an attitude that complicates his relations with the struggling Indians, who themselves are understandably edgy. His more or less unconscious identification with the Indians comes from his own feelings as an outsider in American society. A parallel plot concerning Hawks's neurotic girlfriend is unsettlingly amusing at times but is never absorbed smoothly into

the heart of the novel. Nor are the lumps of hydrologic jargon and excerpts of historical and fictional treaties between the Indian nations and the U.S. government. But the central situation generates heat: an unengaged, questioning black man stumbles into a violent confrontation on behalf of a people he barely understands but intuitively senses are family. Michael P. Healy, English Teacher, Wood River H.S., Hailey, ID
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Author:Healy, Michael P.
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Sep 1, 2003
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