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Smoke Dancing: A Novel Paperback – April 30, 2004


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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Each story shifts with each telling and each telling shifts the one telling it. This book is a rising smoke dance, turning, braking, and turning again."

About the Author

Eric Gansworth, an enrolled member of the Onondaga Nation, was born and raised at the Tuscarora Indian Nation in Western New York. He received a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Arts in English from Buffalo State College. He is Professor of English and holds a position of Writer in Residence at Canisius College in Buffalo, New York. His previous work includes a novel, Indian Summers, and a collection of poetry, Nickel Eclipse: Iroquois Moon; numerous Native literature anthologies include his poetry and fiction. Eric is also an active artist and has painted the cover illustrations for a number of his books.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 235 pages
  • Publisher: Michigan State University Press (April 30, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0870137085
  • ISBN-13: 978-0870137082
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,984,664 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By zadig on November 30, 2004
Format: Paperback
One of Eric Gansworth's greatest assets as a writer is his ability to be fair and true to his characters. This quality is especially important given Eric Gansworth's style. "Smoke Dancing", like "Indian Summers", is not a straight-forward first person narrative. There is no single protagonist for you to point to, empathize with, or be duped by. There is no classic antagonist for the reader to jump on and condemn. Main characters are given her/his chance to speak. Fiction Tunny begins the novel and we quickly learn through her about other characters, but some of these characters are soon given their own chapters. Here, they do not defend themselves; they are themselves. By giving the reader the opportunity to peer inside the minds of so many characters, Eric Gansworth allows the reader a rare opportunity to see characters as they see themselves, as well as how others see them. We are not given a phony third person god's eye view of the world, or a single stilted first person perspective to follow throughout. We are given several first person perspectives. And we are given fully realized characters. If Eric Gansworth were to set up "straw-men" only so that he could stand with a foot on their chests, we would know it. He does no such thing. You will grow to love some characters, and perhaps hate some as well, but it will not be Eric Gansworth telling you how to feel. You will find yourself laughing with characters, hammering the end table in frustration at others, crying against injustice, cursing power and greed. You will find yourself in a whole new world, a fictional one that is every bit as real as our own.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Susan Stebbins on January 19, 2011
Format: Paperback
At last a contemporary novel about Native peoples and a realistic look at rez. life. Not only does Gansworth deal with real issues of politics, tribal identity, land loss and environmental damage, he also incorporates information about the traditional and cultural beliefs of the Iroquois. I wish more people would read his books to get a real insight into a Native American society.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 23, 2004
Format: Paperback
I found myself really visualizing and caring about the characters in this book, especially "Fiction" (the heroine, who is named that because of the tall tales she likes to tell. I also learned a lot about Native Americans in the eastern U.S., what it is like to live on a reservation, and also try to survive within the U.S. culture and values. There was some great humor and memorable characters, and I liked the plot, which has some twists and some romance and some come-uppance for the "bad guy" - although I even had some sympathy for him too. I recommend this book.
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