Winter in the Blood

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Winter in the Blood
Author James Welch
Country United States
Language English
Genre Fiction
Published 1974
Publisher Harper & Row
Penguin Books

Winter in the Blood (1974) is the first novel by Native American author James Welch.[1]

Winter in the Blood was published by Harper & Row. It was later issued as a paperback by Penguin Paperback.


Set in contemporary times, the novel features a self-destructive narrator undergoing an identity crisis. He lives in on the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation in Montana. His tribe and his culture are clashing with a nearby white settlement and the effects of poor legislation. He moves through his days in a mental haze and tries to find consolation in sexual encounters.

He suffers from family tragedies, trying to deal with memories of his father found dead in a snowdrift and blaming himself for his elder brother's fatal accident at the age of fourteen. The distant tone is set from the beginning, as the narrator's name is never given.


The novel takes place on the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation and along the Hi-Line of Montana. These are areas where Welch lived in childhood.

Film adaptation[edit]

Winter in the Blood was adapted as a screenplay, and was produced as a 2012 feature film by the brothers Alex and Andrew Smith,[1] and the screenwriter Ken White.[2] It was the Official Selection of the Los Angeles, Austin and American Indian film festivals in 2013.[2]


  1. ^ a b O’Connor, William (2014-08-22). "Sherman Alexie on His New Film, the Redskins, and Why It's OK to Laugh at His Work". The Daily Beast. 
  2. ^ a b Winter in the Blood, Official film website, accessed 14 February 2013