Books That Inspire 2008

The Sharpest Sight: A Novel
Louis Owens

I received Louis Owens’s novel The Sharpest Sight from Karen Wieder in 2000, a parting gift to read on the plane back home after visiting Norman for the first time. As an editor, I read professionally all day, every day, but I’d never heard of Owens—his book immediately seared itself into my memory. It’s a novel about Native stories and storytelling, ancestry and fate, violence and redemption, “certain knowledge” and “fundamental evil”: “The steelhead . . . became a shadow in the bright water, a dark arrow racing toward a memory in the blood.” That dark arrow pierced Owens himself, who took his own life in 2002.

Daniel Simon
Assistant Director & Acting Editor
World Literature Today