Keith Staskiewicz
February 17, 2010 AT 05:00 AM EST

Black Hills

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Dan Simmons
publisher
Reagan Arthur Books
genre
Fiction, History

We gave it a B+

Paha Sapa is a 10-year-?old Sioux boy who inherits the ghost of George ?Armstrong Custer when he touches the general’s body — or “counts coup,” ?as it’s called — at the Battle of the Little ?Bighorn in 1876. The spirit communes with Paha Sapa up until 1936, when the elderly man plots to demolish Mount Rushmore, built on a holy Sioux site. Paha Sapa, who works there as a stonecutter, emerges as a complex figure struggling with a disappearing nationality and a shifting sense of self — not to mention the yammering id of the general’s lingering spectre. Though some passages of Black Hills sink into tourist-pamphlet minutiae, Simmons (Drood) keeps the tale buoyant with his evocative prose and storytelling muscle. B+

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