"Going home is better than being home."


Buffalo Spirits is filled with affection for the Great Plains and the extraordinary people bound to it. Insightful and disturbing, Elizabeth Black's first novel confronts the problems faced by farm families struggling to stay on the land they love.
Senator Bob Dole
Black offers a moving, and justifiably tragic, depiction of the fate of the farmers, land, slaughtered buffalo, and feedlot-incarcerated cattle of the Great Plains.
The Rockville writer's heritage, "the windswept plains of western Kansas," is the foundation of her first novel, "Buffalo Spirits."
Ellyn Wexler
Rockville Gazette
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Part Native American lore, part ecological treatise, part mystical odyssey, and perhaps, part autobiography, Black's debut novel leads her readers along unexpected paths. Rebecca grows up in Western Kansas in the 1950s, moves to Chicago, and becomes a successful journalist. But behind this normalcy lies a moody, nomadic soul. As a child she communes with Gentle Wind, her "spirit sister" who lived on her family's land a century earlier. Rebecca loses touch with Gentle Wind but keeps her fierce allegiance to the plains. Whenever she returns home, Rebecca is angered at the changes time has wrought... Interspersed chapters written in the voice of Gentle Wind recount the “great buffalo slaughter” from 1865 to 1875 and the gradual demise of the Plains Indians, culminating in their removal to an Oklahoma reservation. The end result is a poignant family saga and an enlightening history lesson."
Deborah Donovan, Booklist
Black has written a novel comparable to the non-fiction Prairie Earth written by William Least Heat Moon. But she writes as a native Kansan struggling with her own personal prairie experience and not as the awed first time visitor. … Her portrait of Highway 150 as a scenic bridge across the Flint Hills and the ever-shifting color palate of Kansas grasses is painted as only a homesick native Kansan can. … The author knows the minutia of a mostly vanished rural life—one-room schools, country churches, making a living from the vagaries of dirt farming and the avarice and pettiness of rural landlords. The heroine constantly returns to Kansas, each time digging more deeply into her family’s history and literally into the land itself. Her surprising resolution is based on finally knowing more about Kansas and her western Kansas community but also about herself.
Dale Suderman
Marion County Free Press

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