The Place in Flowers Where Pollen Rests Summary
by Paul West

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The Place in Flowers Where Pollen Rests

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

Through the world of the Hopi Indian, West reveals alienation in contemporary America. He seems somewhat out of his element in his description of the Hopi, but West is known for taking bold steps, and THE PLACE IN FLOWERS WHERE POLLEN RESTS is certainly one of his most bold. The Native American is an outsider in the white man’s world. The youthful Oswald Beautiful Badger Going Over The Hill attempts to discover his identity in this alien world.

Oswald strays from his native traditions, from what he has been taught by his Uncle George The Place In Flowers Where Pollen Rests (the name which gives the novel its title). George, a great carver of kachina dolls, is going blind and suffers from a heart condition; he also possesses spiritual powers. In his search for self-discovery, Oswald becomes involved in the world of pornographic films in Southern California, and he later volunteers to fight in the Vietnam War. West suggests that pornography and art, love and war, innocence and wisdom are linked.

THE PLACE IN FLOWERS WHERE POLLEN RESTS is wildly imaginative. West is not shy and takes many chances with his provocative descriptions. A fair amount of repetition yields a trancelike effect. The prose manages to be both brilliant and tedious. The novel is full of blood and sex, blood and death, blood and rebirth. Uncle George dies, but his spirit lives on. His ability to draw his nephew back to the Hopi’s sacred land leads Oswald toward redemption. Oswald turns away from the degradation of the white man’s world and goes back to the values and the land of his birth. West tells a gut-wrenching tale; he may not be an expert on Hopi lore, but he knows how to dazzle with his fiction.