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The Grass Dancer

The Grass Dancer

Written by Susan Power

Narrated by Susan Power


The Grass Dancer

Written by Susan Power

Narrated by Susan Power

ratings:
4/5 (9 ratings)
Length:
9 hours
Released:
Sep 11, 2009
ISBN:
9781423393825
Format:
Audiobook

Description

Back in the 1860s, Ghost Horse, a handsome young sacred clown, loved and lost to death the beautiful warrior woman Red Dress. As their spirits seek desperately to be reunited, they influence the sometimes violent fate of those who have followed them. Now in the 1980s, Red Dress's teenage descendant Charlene Thunder has fallen hopelessly in love with Harley Wind Soldier, the dashing traditional dancer of Ghost Horse's lineage.

When Harley's soul mate is killed in an accident, Charlene guiltily suspects her own grandmother, a notorious witch, of making it happen - just as she may well have caused the death of Harley's father and brother, which even today obsesses him.

The Grass Dancer is a debut novel for Susan Power, an enrolled member of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe.
Released:
Sep 11, 2009
ISBN:
9781423393825
Format:
Audiobook


About the author

Susan Power is an enrolled member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. Her first novel, Grass Dancer, received the PEN/Hemingway award for best new fiction. She lives in Saint Paul, Minnesota.

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Reviews

What people think about The Grass Dancer

3.8
9 ratings / 9 Reviews
What did you think?
Rating: 0 out of 5 stars

Reader reviews

  • (5/5)
    So good!! I did not put this one down except to eat dinner. Full review to come.4.5 stars
  • (5/5)
    I read this book ages ago, re-read it a couple of years later. I haven't picked it up in a while, and I'm almost afraid to. It's a story of a Native American family through several generations. There are a lot of fantasy and imagined elements that I worry I might not find as captivating as I did when I was younger, and had just visited the Badlands of South Dakota.
    There is one scene that has made a permanent imprint on my imagination. A group of young friends drive through the black hills during a rainstorm, after performing a grass dance. Power so perfectly described the scene I can hear the voices, taste the rain, and smell the damp old car even years after I read the passage.

    I recommend this if you like Louise Erdrich's books, or have a liking of fantasy elements in literature.
  • (5/5)
    At first, The Grass Dancer seems like just another ill-fated love story, but as the author traces the history of the passage of power from mother to daughter and back through the matrilineal line, the story is transformed into a declaration of a people's recovery of their heritage, learning through pain to find their own inner strengths.
  • (2/5)
    confusing. goes back in time further and further until it comes back. By that time, I already forget the names of the main characters
  • (4/5)
    Great book, mixing elements of magic and real life in uncommon ways.
  • (4/5)
    Challenging but worthwhile exploration of some of the historical, mystical, and generation influences on the Lakota of the northern plains. I've enclosed (in the copy I released via bookcrossing) printouts of a couple of brief reviews that I wish I'd read before I read the book as said reviews would've helped me understand what I was getting into better.
  • (4/5)
    Native American tales told in reverse chronological order. Lots of myth and mysticism. Very interesting. I enjoyed it very much. I think it might make for a good book-group discussion.
  • (3/5)
    Grass Dancer doesn't have a plot. It doesn't have a main character. It doesn't have a linear timeline. At best, I would call it a mishmash of stories with interconnected characters, most from the same family. Grass Dancer as a whole is a shape shifter. With multiple points of view bouncing from first person to third and timelines that are all over the place (1981, 1964, 1935, and 1969 are important dates), it is hard to stay focused on the main purpose of the story. What I found most disheartening is that I would grow attached to a character (like Pumpkin) and then the story would move away from him or her. Most characters came back, but in impersonal ways. Wait until you read what happens to Pumpkin! This is not to say I didn't enjoy Power's writing. She inserted some surprises along the way that I wasn't expecting and she stayed true to the cultures, legends and myths of the Sioux Indians which I appreciated.
  • (2/5)
    Right from the beginning, I knew that Susan Power's The Grass Dancer was a book I never would have picked up on my own. Though I'm generally up for reading about any culture, I've been burned by a couple about Native Americans, so I'm hesitant to read them. Still, that's not something I'm proud of and is certainly no reason to write off all of those books, so, when this showed up in Sadie Hawkins, I figured I'd give it a try. While I didn't precisely dislike The Grass Dancer, I didn't really like it either, and I definitely did not understand it.The Grass Dancer is a strange novel from a narrative perspective. Power uses multiple perspectives, varying from chapter to long chapter. Some of the perspectives are in third person and others in first. Since I read the book in chunks by chapter (seriously, they're long), I can't say for sure how unique the voices are in the first person chapters, but it pretty much all read like the same narrator to me. As such, I found the shifts in narration confusing.Shifting from third to first person isn't all that weird though. Plenty of books do that. What not as many books do is jump around in time while switching perspectives. The book opens (with no year ascribed, then goes to 1981. From there, the narrative keeps jumping backwards years at a time, all the way to 1935, at which point it finally hops back to the early 1980s. WHUT.Each chapter is a somewhat self-contained narrative and, taken individually, some of them were quite interesting and would have made decent books if built out more. Both the 1981 story, involving Pumpkin, one of the only female grass dancers and one of the best regardless of gender, and the 1964 story about Crystal Thunder, which is about her falling in love with a white man. Race and culture and identity and romance are the main themes, and I'm totally all for that. Some of the other narratives, the one of Red Dress most especially, bored me.Taken as a whole, though, I have no freaking clue what to make of this book. Why did it go backward? Why make it so difficult for me to piece together how everyone's related? To follow this, I would have had to build out a family tree and keep track of names. As it is, I think I got the broad strokes, but missed the more subtle impacts the earlier timelines had on the later. Having finished, I really have no clue what I was meant to get out of this novel. What I consider the main plot, the frame story, seems, to me, unresolved and unsatisfying. Basically, I just don't get it. So there you go. I don't think this was a book for me, and I don't think I did it justice because I am baffled.