A Council Of Dolls
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.
Copies of A Council Of Dolls will be distributed for free to all attendees courtesy of a gift from the Cheryl Rosen Weston Estate.
Mona Susan Power is an enrolled member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. She is the author of three previously published works of fiction, The Grass Dancer, 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 and teaches in Saint Paul, Minnesota.