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Cry Dance Paperback – February 24, 2010

4.7 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 294 pages
  • Publisher: lulu.com (February 24, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0557196523
  • ISBN-13: 978-0557196524
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,285,191 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

By Charles P. Christensen on May 20, 2010
Format: Paperback
I picked this book up because I was raised not far from the Bishop area where the story is born and because of my interest in Native American people and their culture. Both interests were rewarded and more. Even then a "reality" novel is a stretch from my usual fantasy, historical fiction, thrillers, and crime novels. The sub-title is why I noticed it, "What if there is no death?" Strange question for a person who questions whether there is even a god, much less a male one.
The prologue starts with a young woman, Lorinda, accused of a murder she must have done but claims she is innocent. After I have worked for 43 years in the justice system I have heard that before. Yeah, right. And the story gets better. It is a "reality" novel because Lorinda faces and deals with some quite personal issues that she allows to change her way of being. The story had me thinking about issues I found quite challenging like the very first question about the reality of death. There is a beauty in the way the story ends in that it brings me back to its birth in Bishop and the Paiute culture.
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Format: Paperback
Helen Bonner's novel, Cry Dance, starts with premise "what if there is no death." I was hooked. We follow heroine, Lorinda from the innocent life of the Sierra Nevada Mountains near the Paiute Indian Reservation. When her friend, Richard, decides to join the army, Lorinda follows him to Los Angeles. After his deployment to Iraq, Lorinda's life in Los Angeles is a combination of turbulence, excitment, and tragedy, including the death of two friends. We follow her from a cheap motel to the Penthouse of a producer and eventually to Iraq as a USO entertainer. It is a journey you won't soon forget.

Beautifully written, Cry Dance is a complex and intriguing work.
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Format: Paperback
Overall, Cry Dance possesses an interesting plot that could be extremely engaging; however, the trouble I had with this novel was that it felt very hurried and failed to give us much information about the characters we were supposed to care about, especially the protagonist. Lorinda felt very two dimensional to me, and the author left it to others to describe her when her actions and feelings should bring things about her character across to the reader. The character I felt the most empathy for was Bonnie, and even her undeveloped character traits confused me. Why even have her bring up that she's a lesbian if that's never going to be explored? If her sexuality has nothing to do with driving the plot, why even mention it?

It's easy to see that Bonner was trying to write this novel in the Native American style; she started in the middle and then went back to the beginning, and there's Native American elements to it, (magical realism, etc,) but the rushed feel of the novel is in direct contrast to "Indian Time," which she even mentions several times in the novel. I also found the Native American imagery a little heavy handed at times. (For the art of writing about Indians in fiction, see anything by Sherman Alexie.)

The most engaging parts of the novel were when we were shown Richard's experiences in Iraq and when we discover Bonnie's fate after the fire. Overall, I believe that Bonnie was a stronger character than Lorinda and that if the author wanted to write about the Native American experience, then Bonnie would have worked better as a protagonist.

There were several things about this novel that I enjoyed,(especially toward the end with the hostage situation,) but in the end, it fell short in characterization and pacing. It took me about three hours to read, but in the end, I came away feeling a little unsatisfied.
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Format: Paperback
Helen Bonner's Cry Dance is a novel unlike any other I've read. It explores issues of life and death, of friends and lovers and their failure to be for each other what they had hoped to be. It is about one woman's belief in the power of love beyond appearances, beyond the grave. It brings together in a fascinating way people from widely diverse backgrounds and reveals their common humanity. It's a story of love from many different angles and never fails to keep the reader interested and intrigued.
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