As Chloride, a dying New Mexican mining town, whirls toward a rendezvous with truth, its people find themselves precariously balanced between a lost past of blood-deep spirituality and an unknowable, terrifying future, between the world of drama and the drama of the world. A filmmaker trying to turn his disillusionment into truth; a once celebrated film star who disappears; a look-alike who takes her place; a trickster who enjoys the chaos he creates around him are all part of the play. In this eerie, beautifully crafted novel, Gladys Swan presents an impressionistic palimpsest of myth and modem life. The present is revealed as only a play of light and shadow over a ghost dance that—tenu¬ously—ensures the world’s continued exis¬tence. Part history, part myth, part meditation on truth and illusion, the novel reveals a kaleidoscope of plots and subplots, each refracted through the perceptions—the voices—of a cast of characters as intriguing as the Southwest itself.
Ghost Dance: A Play of Voices is the second novel in a trilogy that includes A Dark Gamble and Ancestors. A Dark Gamble is available from Serving House Books, and Ancestors is forthcoming. Nominated for the PEN/Faulkner Award.
Gladys Swan has published two novels, Carnival for the Gods (Vintage Contemporaries Series) and Ghost Dance: A Play of Voices, nominated by LSU Press for the Pen/Faulkner Award. She has published six collections of short fiction, the most recent being A Garden Amid Fires. Her short fiction has appeared in such literary magazines as the Kenyon Review, Sewanee Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, Shenandoah, Manoa, Ohio Review, and Prairie Schooner, where she was awarded the Lawrence Foundation Prize for Fiction. In 200l, she received the Tate Prize for Poetry from the Sewanee Review. She was awarded one of the first Open Fellowships from the Lilly Endowment for a study of Inuit art and mythology and has held residencies at Yaddo, the Fundacion Valpariso in Spain, and the Chateau de Lavigny in Switzerland, and the Martha’s Vineyard Writers’ Residency. She has received various fellowships for residencies in painting at the Vermont Studio Center, where she has also been a Guest Writer.
A stageful of sharply etched characters . . . but no one is what he appears to be. Even a posthumous retrospective exhibit devoted to a critically acclaimed local artist seems to be fraudulent, except for one painting: The Ghost Dance, which portrays the tormented towns-people “trying to dance flesh into spirit.” Swan (Carnival for the Gods) has an acute eye and writes with strength.