By Paula Gunn Allen
The Woman Who Owned the Shadows starts where the rest of the world leaves Indians off: at the brink of death. Ephanie Atencio is in the midst of a breakdown from which she can barely move. She has been left by her husband and is unable to take care of her children. To heal, Ephanie must seek, however gropingly, her own future. She leaves New Mexico for San Francisco, where she begins again the process of remembering, of trying to sort out the parts of her, ultimately finding a way to herself, relying no longer on men, but on her primary connections to the spirit women of her people and to the women of her own world.
An absorbing, often fascinating world is created…not only is it an exploration of racism, it is often a powerful and moving testament to feminism.
—The New York Times Book Review
Ephanie’s search for her own definition, for her strength, for her self, is intricate and stark as the spirit shawl she weaves, a bridge between her and Spider Woman, between the old power and new pain of her people. In her history lies the seed of promise, and her journeys weave hauntingly through many realities.
The Woman Who Owned the Shadows is a book full of power…the kind of power that wells up from the earth like a hot spring, the power to change, to heal, to cleanse…
The Woman Who Owned the Shadows is one of the first novels by and about contemporary Indian women…It is a new form, one of many evolving in mixed-blood women’s literature, circular, cyclical, bringing all time and life into the present.
The Woman Who Owned the Shadows is a book that, if you come with an honest heart, will change the way you think and feel. It will help us—all of us—to grow up…to become intelligent, caring, sensitive beings who use both sides of their brains for their perceptions. Don’t miss out on it.
Paula Gunn Allen has given us…a sensitive, sophisticated, forceful portrait of a contemporary American Indian woman, a valuable addition to the increasingly impressive list of novels by American Indians.
—American Indian Culture and Research Journal
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