What a profound novel THE GODMA’S DAUGHTERS by Isabella Ides is. Part Mayan myth, part hipster young adult stream-of-modern-day-life storytelling, part love letter to this beleaguered planet–the story does what few novels are able to do well–jump around in time and space, unfolding stories within stories about a host of characters, many of whom have more than one name as their souls span lifetimes. Yet the novel still manages to remain an edge-of-the-seat page-turner. The text’s poetic, frequently playful play-on-words enchants all the way through as daughters, granddaughters, grandmothers, sisters, boyfriends and an utterly charming burro named Pants-On-Fire vie for attention between chronicles of bad queens of the past and the playground, along with the telling of tall tales that keep changing each time Imix’s grandmother relates them–much to her granddaughter’s annoyance. But “stories are willful, like rivers…” and true to their own nature.
No one knows when it is too soon to warn innocent young girls of the world’s dangers until it is too late. So now is the time dark foreshadows are being dropped into these stories which have been shared–in one form or another–for generations. Words that have been held sacred, such as the name of the forever-female shaman, Whakán (Ixaman), a reality that can not be found on Google, are uttered as this last living speaker for the dead from the PaperClan attempts to pass on stories of her people versus the TunstoneClan, whose glyphs are historically carved on still-standing pyramids throughout the old Mayapán, rather than being passed down from mother’s mouths. Some have called the TunstoneClan ‘royal.’ Others, like Imix’s grandmother, know them to be thieves. This lyrical masterpiece in the form of literary fiction is a story of borders and bullies; of simple magnificence, as well as malevolent manipulation spanning lifetimes. It is also the story of laughingly falling in love again and again with Life, with a boy, and with a burro.
Honoring the wisdom of a long ago people whose descendants remain, Isabella Ides’ THE GODMA’S DAUGHTERS embraces a sometimes bitter, sometimes sweet contemporary present–while dipping into the past and the future in this original, finely honed tale.
~C.S. Holmes for IndieReader