I’m taking a wee break before starting Sue Harrison‘s Storyteller Trilogy, because something else caught my eye while I was browsing through Kobo the other day. Actually, two books caught my eye. The first is what’s currently in my e-reader, Waterlily, by the late Ella Cara Deloria.
Written in the early 1940s and published well after her death, Ms. Deloria spent a lot of time recording Sioux oral history and legends. Her novel is written in the spirit of traditional storytelling. Only half of her novel made it to publication, because Western books focus on plot, while cultural storytellers weave a winding trail filled with wisdom, teachings, and learning. The publisher felt it was better to have a true plot. Personally, I’d rather read the full manuscript. Plot doesn’t interest me when I’m immersed in traditional stories or listening to a storyteller.
The novel reads as if one is sitting in a tipi on the plains, cozying up to the fire while an elder shares a tale about everyday life for Indigenous women from long ago. I highly recommend. It’s a great story with strong, vivid female characters.
Here is the blurb: When Blue Bird and her grandmother leave their family’s camp to gather beans for the long, threatening winter, they inadvertently avoid the horrible fate that befalls the rest of the family. Luckily, the two women are adopted by a nearby Dakota community and are eventually integrated into their kinship circles. Ella Cara Deloria’s tale follows Blue Bird and her daughter, Waterlily, through the intricate kinship practices that created unity among her people.
Waterlily offers a captivating glimpse into the daily life of the nineteenth-century Sioux. This new Bison Books edition features an introduction by Susan Gardner and an index.