White Magic

Tin House. Apr. 2021. 432p. ISBN 9781951142391. $26.95. PARAPSYCH
Washuta (My Body Is a Book of Rules) delivers a searing set of essays, each a fractal examination of the connections between her personal struggle with loneliness, abuse, and addiction, and the devastation of Indigenous communities swindled by colonial settlers, white developers, and foisted treaties rarely honored. Lured by the possibilities of fulfilling her desire to be loved and getting help for the hard work of recovery, Washuta is both drawn to and conflicted about modern witchery. But this is not a book about witchcraft or the occult. Topics and tone sweep from private introspection viewed through strange and often humorous lenses of Twin Peaks, claymation Mark Twain and his Devil, and the relationship woes of Fleetwood Mac’s Lindsay Buckingham and Stevie Nicks, to highly researched, unvarnished examples from the painful histories of injustice and loss for many Pacific Northwest Indigenous communities.
VERDICT Washuta’s story and struggles become a metaphor for the toll of colonialism on generations of Indigenous people like herself. Readers of recovery narratives, women’s issues, and keenly observed social commentary will be rewarded here.
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