The Night Power Came to the Reservation

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Anderson, Forrest. “The Night Power Came to the Reservation.” The Louisville Review: A literary magazine [Lexington, KY: Spaulding University] 59.Spring (2006): 154-64.


This artful, intriguing short story, set in Delco, North Carolina (Columbus County), features as its main character Lucius Soundingsides, a father who is Eastern Cherokee and married to a Lumbee named Winborne. The story's action focuses on Lucius's interactions with his elementary-school son, Thomas, and with Thomas's classmate and friend, Gabriel, who is Mexican. Lucius, who earlier in life missed getting a basketball scholarship to University of North Carolina because of a knee injury, now mentors his son Thomas as Thomas plays basketball at his elementary school. Lucius plays aggressively, inciting anger and frustration but also striving and discipline in his son. Thomas has improved enough to attend the Pembroke Basketball Camp but struggles with his height and his performance. He wonders about the extent to which his Cherokee blood might be interfering with the help his mother has said will come to him—if he works hard enough—from his Lumbee ancestors. On the day of the story's action, Lucius plays a rough pickup game against Thomas and his friend Gabriel at their elementary school. After defeating the boys and knocking his son down, Lucius tells the boys a magical story involving his own ancestors and the night in the 1930s when the Cherokee Reservation first got electric power.

This short story features vivid descriptions, especially of the pickup basketball game and the father's magical story; powerful evocations of hope, disappointment, discrimination, and family ties; and a bittersweet beginning and ending.

Forrest Anderson currently studies creative writing at Florida State University, and received an MFA from the University of South Carolina. His stories have been twice nominated for Best New American Voices, have been a finalist for the 2006 Writers at Work Fellowship Competition, have been a winner of the 2004 South Carolina Fiction Project, the 2004 Piccolo Spoleto Fiction Open, and the James Dickey Award for Fiction, and have appeared in The Louisville Review, The North Carolina Literary Review, storySouth, The Midtown Literary Review, The Charleston Post and Courier, and The Charleston City Paper. He’s also been a contributor at the Sewanee Writers’ Conference and a resident at the Writers’ Colony at Dairy Hollow.

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