BOOKS: STORMY LEGACY

A SAGA OF WEAK MEN AND THE WOMEN THEY MARRY

Having one's heart warmed is a chilling experience not always avoidable by even the wariest cynic. A shameless manipulator in the hot-ventricle dodge is Michael Dorris, who 10 years ago, as a first novelist, gave us Rayona Taylor, the 15-year-old, part black, part Native American heroine of A Yellow Raft in Blue Water. You couldn't help falling for Rayona. She was plucky, pretty, buffeted by fate (her Indian mother Christine dies during the novel, and Elgin, her lackadaisical black father, is seldom seen) and crazy enough to enter a bronco-riding contest disguised as a boy.

Now comes a darker novel, Cloud...

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