Stone Heart: A Novel of Sacajaweaby Diane Glancy
Stone Heart is a gripping retelling of the story of American legend Sacajawea, the young Shoshoni woman who traveled with Lewis and Clark on their expedition to the West. Presented in Sacajawea's own voice juxtaposed with excerpts from Lewis and Clark's diaries, it is a work of moving and illuminating fiction cast from a famed piece of history that has long been masked by myth.
Lewis and Clark recorded the external journey, its physical challenges and wonders. Diane Glancy's Sacajawea experiences the expedition on a different plane, one that lies between the terrestrial and the magical, where clouds speak and ghost horses roam the plains. Both stunningly imagined and meticulously faithful to history, Stone Heart draws a lingering portrait of a woman of resilience and courage.
Sacajawea's story has been retold many times, notably in Anna Lee Waldo's massive (over 1,400 pages) 1979 paperback, Sacajawea (a historical with a romantic subplot), and, more recently, in Brian Hall's superb I Should Be Extremely Happy in Your Company (p. 1494). Now, prizewinning poet and novelist Glancy, of Cherokee and German-English descent, offers us instead a kind of spiritual take, grindingly gritty yet webbed with supernatural ghostbreath. We all know that Native Americans can scan and hear news from the Otherworld as easily as New Yorkers read the Times. Still, some may at first resist Glancy's strategies, since she has once again, as in The Mask Maker (2002), adopted a distracting layout that has Sacajawea's present-tense voice broken constantly by framed inserts from Lewis and Clark's diaries, which bear upon the moment. Sacajawea herself, according to the grandmother who dreamed of finding a white stone shaped like a beaver, bears this white stone heart in her spirit-and she needs a rocklike heart to rise above the endless privations of the expedition, as when cottonwood trees grow so cold that water within makes them explode like cannonfire (a temperature of 45 below zero, Clark notes). Sacajawea, kidnapped by the Hidatasa tribe, was later sold and married to Canadian trapper Toussaint Charbonneau, who already had Otter Woman as a mate. Pregnant, Sacajawea feared she'd be left behind. Instead, she carried her son on her back through terrifying illnesses and dangers, her soothing songs to him getting her named Bird Woman. She is torn, wants tostay in her starving Shoshoni village when the explorers pass through it, but goes on to Oregon and the Pacific.
A short, masterful work about creative consciousness in the land.
- The Overlook Press
- Publication date:
- Edition description:
- Product dimensions:
- 5.50(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.45(d)
- Age Range:
- 18 Years
Meet the Author
Diane Glancy has received numerous awards for her writing, including the American Book Award, the Pushcart Prize, the Capricorn Prize for Poetry, the Five Civilized Tribes Playwriting Prize, the North American Indian Prose Award, and a fellowship in poetry from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
See all customer reviews