Grass Dancer

Power, Susan. The Grass Dancer. Bookcassette Audio, 1998.

I have admitted as much, I am not a fan of magical realism. But, I think I found a way to combat my dislike – audio books. Listening to Grass Dancer is certainly easier than reading it!
As an aside, I have become spoiled by compact discs when it comes to audio books. I’m listening to The Grass Dancer on cassette and the hum and clicks in the audio is so distracting! Luckily, I am using this book as entertainment while I walk on the treadmill so it’s not too terrible. Ahem. Correction: I WAS using this book as entertainment. Last night my stereo ate the tape! Damaged it beyond repair. UGH! Embarrassing that I had to pay the owning library a $5 replacement fee.

Anyway, onto the review, such as it is. Since I only got halfway through the story this will be brief. 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.

Reason read: North Dakota become part of the union in November.

Author fact: This is Power’s first novel.

Book trivia: Susan Power actually reads the unabridged audio. I think this is the first time I’ve listened to an audio book actually read by the author. I think.

BookLust Twist: This was indexed in Book Lust twice. Once, in “American Indian Literature” (p 23) and again, in “Growing Writers” (p 107). It is also in More Book Lust in the chapter called “The Great Plains: the Dakotas” (p 106).

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