Anthropology •  Latin America and Women

$24.95 paperback
978-0-8263-1807-7

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Hungry Lightning: Notes of a Woman Anthropologist in Venezuela


Pei-Lin Yu

A young student of anthropology receives an offer she can't refuse: the chance to live among the Pumé, a South American hunting-and-gathering people who call the tropical Venezuelan savannah home. During their time in the village of Doro Aná, the author and the principal researcher study a vanishing way of life in which cash money, the written word, automobiles, and airplanes are rare and frightening intrusions.

Adopted into a Pumé family, Yu's informal and personal accounts of events during her two year stay sparkle with descriptive flourishes and turns of phrase as she describes the daily cycles of birth, growth, romance, sickness, healing, and death among the villagers. Enlivened with the author's own illustrations, Yu's journal entries seek to present through a young American's eyes a sketch of her Pumé family, their heroic struggle to survive in a changing world, and the power and mystery of the Pumé way of life.

"In Hungry Lightning we glimpse haunting fragments of life among the Pumé Indians. We find an intimate, deeply feminine--but ever-so-slightly jaded and strangely melancholic--voice savoring the tastes and smells of life lived in the Venezuelan savanna. A complexly sensual portrait."--Barbara Tedlock


ABOUT THE CONTRIBUTORS

Pei-Lin Yu is an archaeologist at the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation's Pacific Northwest Regional Office in Boise, Idaho. She won the 1998 Goodbey Author's Award from Southern Methodist University, Dallas, for Hungry Lightning.


5.25 x 8 in. 256 pages 18 drawings, 1 maps