The Power of Horses and Other Stories

Elizabeth Cook-Lynn, Author Arcade Publishing $17.95 (131p) ISBN 978-1-55970-050-4
Composed in a spare style that is more folkloric than minimalist, this slim but powerful first collection of 15 short stories by Cook-Lynn focuses on Native Americans in various periods of the 20th century. Dominated by dysfunctional families, economic hardship and sudden violence, her characters struggle to survive and also to maintain their dignity--in some cases, merely to ask why their tribal culture is one in which ``strange events were witnessed with inexplicable but characteristic tolerance.'' Whether writing of a young Vietnam veteran, of a family burying the violent head of its household or of a divorcee fighting for custody of her children, Cook-Lynn masterfully shows how Native Americans are caught in a double bind: trapped with white society in a relationship marked by a sense of betrayal and mistrust, and haunted by the symbolic forces of nature, with reservation lands generally seen as ``repositories of sacred worlds unknown to all but the most ancient tenants.'' The author is a member of the Crow Creek Sioux tribe in South Dakota, and is an associate professor of English and Native American Studies at East Washington University. (July)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1990
Release date: 01/01/1990
Paperback - 131 pages - 978-0-8165-2550-8
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