What was it the anthropologist said? Claudia wonders as she types up her notes. “Oh, yes. ‘An observer is under the bed. A participant observer is in it.’ She doubted he foresaw her situation.” Because in “Subduction,” Kristen Millares Young’s debut novel, Claudia is in it, in a big way. She has just left the embrace of Peter, a member of the Makah tribe she’s ostensibly observing.
Claudia has recently fled to Neah Bay, a Native whaling village on the Pacific coast, to salve her wounded heart with work after her husband left her for another woman — her own sister. Claudia aims to conduct an anthropological study of Makah culture focused on one village elder, Maggie. Complicating the picture, Maggie’s prodigal son, Peter, has just returned to tend to his mother after 20 years away.