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The Dance Boots: Stories Hardcover – September 15, 2010

4.6 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Winner of this year's Flannery O'Connor Award for Short Fiction, Grover's stories work back in time to retrace the rupturing experience of Western schooling on the Ojibwe tribes in Minnesota during the early 20th century. In the title story, narrator Artense's beloved Aunt Shirley is dying of lung cancer as she recounts "the breaking of a culture through the education of its young." In addition to the history, Artense, the oldest child and the first high school graduate, is given Shirley's cherished dancing boots. The intergenerational key is grandma Maggie, who, in "Maggie and Louis," is educated at a mission school and meets her future husband while working as a teacher's assistant at the forbidding Harrod boarding school, which Indian children, taken from their reservations, are forced to attend. Later, in "Three Seasons," Maggie, now a worn-out mother and wife, leaves her drunken and abusive husband and takes her children to live with her alcoholic sister. Even in escape, Maggie has a harsh road ahead, and it's her generous spirit that permeates the stories of the later generations and lends this collection a bright and determined vitality.
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From Booklist

In linked stories, Grover portrays the inhabitants of an imaginary Ojibwe reservation north of Duluth, Minnesota. While Artense, the narrator, attends community college and goes on to graduate school, her aunt Shirley, who lives in Duluth, calls her every couple of weeks to tell her family stories, which Artense passes on to us. Shirley’s multigenerational tale involves Indian boarding schools, homesickness, and racism. Readers also meet Grandma Maggie, who hits her husband with a frying pan, then takes off with her two youngest boys because her three oldest are already at the Indian school; Louis, Maggie’s first husband, whom she meets at the Harrod Indian School; and Sonny and Mickey, who repeatedly escape from Harrod. Before Shirley dies, she gives Artense her suede beaded dancing boots, and Grover writes lyrically of the first time Artense wears them to a powwow, while watching her own daughters join the line of dancing grandmothers, aunts, and cousins. Grover’s collection, for which she won the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction, is simply mesmerizing. --Deborah Donovan
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 152 pages
  • Publisher: University of Georgia Press; 1st edition (September 15, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0820335800
  • ISBN-13: 978-0820335803
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,070,719 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This seems to be a series of short stories collected in short fiction book.
Characters are memorable but names are forgettable and a sad tale, indeed.
Ojibwes and the story of being taken from their homes as children are only
a minor part of story but is a very powerful element in Grover's novel
about modern times in north country. It is already a winner of awards for
short fiction and will be sure to be discussed by many in the manner of
HOSTILES AND FRIENDLIES for years to come. This book is very good as it had
the ring of truth and covered living and dying, and not just in Duluth.
I highly recommend it.
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Linda LeGarde Grover does a wonderful job of tying Native American history and culture into a snapshot of the circle of life. This collection of short stories can be read cover to cover as a novel, or a story at a time. The cover itself is beautiful, and the stories inside are just as alluring. Loved the book.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The Dance Boots and Grover’s novel, The Road Back to Sweetgrass, are relatively unknown, but I give them my Nobel Prize for Literature. When I came of age, I didn’t understand why I could have been drafted for the Vietnam War, or what it meant. When I read Tim O’Brien’s Going after Cacciato and The Things They Carries, and Robert Butler’s Alleys of Eden and A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain, I understood what so many people went through in Vietnam. Later, when I traveled extensively through the American southwest, I couldn’t understand what it meant and how it was to live as an Indian on a reservation. Leslie Silk’s Ceremony and Storyteller opened the world to me. Grover’s story collection and novel did the same for me—they speak the heart of North America’s history since the time of European settlement. –Richie Swanson
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This is a great book...I read it cover to cover in a day! I can see why this author won the Flannery O'Connor Award.
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