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4.0 

A Council of Dolls

By Mona Susan Power
A Council of Dolls by Mona Susan Power digital book - Fable

Publisher Description

LONGLISTED FOR THE NATIONAL BOOK AWARD

The long-awaited, profoundly moving, and unforgettable new novel from PEN Award–winning Native American author Mona Susan Power, spanning three generations of Yanktonai Dakota women from the 19th century to the present day.

From the mid-century metropolis of Chicago to the windswept ancestral lands of the Dakota people, to the bleak and brutal Indian boarding schools, A Council of Dolls is the story of three women, told in part through the stories of the dolls they carried….

Sissy, born 1961: Sissy’s relationship with her beautiful and volatile mother is difficult, even dangerous, but her life is also filled with beautiful things, including a new Christmas present, a doll called Ethel. Ethel whispers advice and kindness in Sissy’s ear, and in one especially terrifying moment, maybe even saves Sissy’s life.

Lillian, born 1925: Born in her ancestral lands in a time of terrible change, Lillian clings to her sister, Blanche, and her doll, Mae. When the sisters are forced to attend an “Indian school” far from their home, Blanche refuses to be cowed by the school’s abusive nuns. But when tragedy strikes the sisters, the doll Mae finds her way to defend the girls.  

Cora, born 1888: Though she was born into the brutal legacy of the “Indian Wars,” Cora isn’t afraid of the white men who remove her to a school across the country to be “civilized.” When teachers burn her beloved buckskin and beaded doll Winona, Cora discovers that the spirit of Winona may not be entirely lost…

A modern masterpiece, A Council of Dolls is gorgeous, quietly devastating, and ultimately hopeful, shining a light on the echoing damage wrought by Indian boarding schools, and the historical massacres of Indigenous people. With stunning prose, Mona Susan Power weaves a spell of love and healing that comes alive on the page.

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28 Reviews

4.0
Loudly Crying Face“My chest aches. This book had me taking pauses to breathe and ground myself, something I’ve never experienced while digesting a story. Profound.”
Beautifully writtenHeartbreaking
Loudly Crying Face“A Council of Dolls by Mona Susan Power is powerful. A novel that takes you on a multi-generational journey of Dakota women. It's not an easy read, dealing with heavy themes of trauma, historical abuse, and loss. But Power's writing is superb. She paints emotions vividly, delves deep into the well of trauma, showing how it can cripple a person's spirit. It's heartbreaking, but also strangely hopeful. The glimpse into a brutal boarding school experience is unforgettable. Cora's journal entries in the third part are a raw look at the ongoing struggle for identity and healing. The weight of history is heavy here, and the brutal murder of Sitting Bull is recounted in a way that's both informative and emotionally gut-wrenching. The final part, told from Jesse's perspective, felt a little disconnected from the rest of the story. However, the overall message of the book remains strong. If you're looking for a light read, this isn't it. But if you're ready for a historical fiction that tackles tough subjects with beauty and honesty, rooted in real experiences, A Council of Dolls is a must read. Just be prepared to take breaks when it feels too heavy.”
Multi-layered charactersBeautifully writtenDarkHeartbreakingThought-provokingAbuseRacismViolence
Thinking Face
Characters change and growMulti-layered charactersDescriptive writingOriginal writingRealistic settingComing of ageThought-provokingRacismViolenceUnsatisfying plot

About Mona Susan Power

Mona Susan Power is an enrolled member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. Her novel, A Council of Dolls, was longlisted for the National Book Award and the Carol Shields Prize for Fiction. She is the author of three previously published works of fiction, The Grass Dancer, which won the Pen/Hemingway Prize, Sacred Wilderness, and Roofwalker. Her short stories have been published by The Atlantic Monthly, The Paris Review, The Best American Short Stories, and more. Mona is a graduate of Harvard and the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop. She lives in Saint Paul, Minnesota.

Other books by Mona Susan Power

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