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Daughters of the Stone

3.81 of 5 stars 3.81  ·  rating details  ·  201 ratings  ·  37 reviews
Finalist for the PEN/Robert Bingham Fellowship for Writers

It is the mid-1800s. Fela, taken from Africa, is working at her second sugar plantation in colonial Puerto Rico, where her mistress is only too happy to benefit from her impressive embroidery skills. But Fela has a secret. Before she and her husband were separated and sold into slavery, they performed a tribal cerem
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Hardcover, 336 pages
Published September 1st 2009 by Thomas Dunne Books (first published August 12th 2009)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 934)
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Tara Chevrestt
Gosh. This is a good book, the kind of book that leaves me having to get my thoughts in order to write this. It's about 5 women, each a new generation of the same family. It begins with Fela. Fela takes readers from the land of Africa to Puerto Rico when she is taken as a slave. Thru her, the tragedy of slavery on the island is told. She leaves behind Mati and Mati exacts revenge on the men who have done her and her mother wrong. Mati gives birth to Concha who struggles to make her mother's worl ...more
El
The story begins with Fela in the mid-1800s sold into slavery on a sugar plantation in Puerto Rico. Before she left Africa she and her husband performed a tribal ritual in which the essence of their unborn child was put into a special stone. This stone thus becomes the glue for the entire book. The book is separated into five parts beginning, as mentioned, with Fela's story which is then passed on - along with the stone - to her daughter, Mati. From Mati the stories and the stones go to Concha, ...more
George
A beautifully written book I literally couldn't put down once I started it. It draws you in from the start and refuses to let go. The book is a series of tales spun in the African griot storyteller tradition, each focusing on the successive generations of the women in a family of black Puerto Ricans over the generations from the first woman brought over from Africa on a slave ship through plantation life during the Spanish colonial period, the American experience and on to America itself, only t ...more
Faith
It's unfair to expect One Hundred Years of Solitude from a writer who (apparently) works at another job, but that's what I wanted from this 5-generation novel. The author is similar to Gabriel García Márquez in that she was raised on family stories told to her by her rural elders, which inspired the stories in this book, she says. Alas, her work is literally much "thinner"--the male characters are particularly sketchy and/or flat--than García Márquez's masterpiece.

Still, I recommend this book. T
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Jade
How do you know who you are? This is a real question. How can you be sure you are who you are, and what do you know about yourself that defines you? This is one of the questions Dahlma Llanos-Figueroa is trying to answer in her 2009 novel, Daughters of the Stone. This book is as ambitious in scope as it is in purpose, and yet easily readable and not terribly long. I sat down with it during finals week and, despite being supposed to have more important things to do (like revisions), I finished it ...more
Amy
The 'Daughters of the Stone" paints a rich and emotional picture of the lives of five generations of women. That it takes place in Puerto Rico adds to the colorful tapestry of the story. With that said Figueroa's book is this and much more. The struggles of these women in each of their relationships as mother, daughter, grandmother, and wife will strike a chord of recognition if you are any of the above. As well as the message to remember the stories passed down in our families. In this way we r ...more
S
The concept was interesting, there were some nice lines, a few interesting bits here and there, but the writing was not truly good, and so much of it was cliche and contrived as hell. I can see what the author wanted to do with the story, I can sense her love for the setting and her pride in writing the story, but it just was not working for me. I didn't finish it.
Norma
An interesting inter-generational story of women who are keepers of a sacred stone from Africa. The first woman is sold into slavery and brings the stone to American with her. The characters are all distinctive and interesting, as are their experiences. It's any easy read and perhaps not the best writing but enjoyable and informative.
Haydee
This was one of those reads where...it was good in parts. However, some of the language was so whimiscal it took away from the true grit of the idea of the novel, which was beautiful. I think the author tried to make the story so beautiful, that the writing overshadowed everything.

Shoshana
Incredibly well-written.
Michelle
This book took a little longer to read than usually because of other things happening in my life so I feel like I lost some of the continuity and started to get a little confused about the different characters. The book follows four generations of African mothers/daughters in Puerto Rico as told by the fourth daughter in modern times. The first part of the book was the most engaging. It was a rich story full of magical realism and mystery because it happened so long ago. And as time progresses, ...more
Shomeret
I felt that there were some important things that I needed to understand about Fela, the first of these women, that I couldn't get a handle on because we were told so little about her life in Africa. I'm sure that I would have understood her better if the book had begun in Africa.

I had serious problems with the ethics of Fela's daughter, Mati, and felt that she represented an unfortunate stereotype.

The protagonists that I could relate to best were the contemporary ones. That isn't a result tha
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Elizabeth
Loved it and wanted more! This book tells an epic family tale from Africa, through slavery on a Puerto Rican sugar cane plantation freedom into land ownership and education. The five generations of women each learn about themselves and the importance of family, as they keep the stories and healing traditions of their African ancestors. Telling such a saga, it's surprising that this book isn't 800 pages, but it's not. Dahlma Llanos Figueroa does a great job of skipping huge pieces of time without ...more
Liz
I finished this book last week. I'm hesitant to say it wasn't a good book because first, there aren't many books about generations of Puerto Rican women who were raised in African traditions and beliefs. Second, I wanted to like the book and had high hopes. There were nuggets and gems within the book that made it enjoyable, but there were too many stories told at a cursory level versus a deeper look at each woman and how they connect to each other and to the matriarch of the family. The book tha ...more
Debby Stephan
I couldn't put this book down. It follow five generations of women from Africa, through slavery in Puerto Rico to freedom and to New York. All of them pass down to their first daughters a truly magical stone. This stone helps them to carry their stories, the memories of the past, knowledge for the future, and the way to see their paths. All of them live difficult lives but they make it through.

The history throughout the book is wonderful. I love reading books about other cultures because there i
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Beth
From slave days in Puerto Rico through 5 generations of daughters which end in New York, we visit each daughters story. I found the 1st two which take place in Puerto Rico interesting because their struggles were so much greater. Fela's story is one of slavery and love and getting out of both. Mati's story is of healer and craftswoman making her way as a free woman. Then we get to Concha who rejects her past and Elena who gets different struggles in New York City. Carisa returns to her historica ...more
saferia
I enjoyed: the first part of the book telling the tales of Fela, Mati, and Concha best. The writing was more lyrical, their stories more colorful and vibrant, and the history rich.

I wish: More depth/insight were given to Elena and Carissa's gifts. I felt that while the stone connected them to the past, their so-called gifts were not really presented. Perhaps this was to show the disconnect between the past and present.


SPOILER************* SPOILER**************************

I like how the story end
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Claudia
Picked this up in my library while searching for Puerto Rican literature to enhance my trip to Puerto Rico. There were few choices. Wow what a great book! The writing is crisply descriptive and compelling without being heavy-handed or overlong [one of my pet peeves]. The tale of several generations of Afro-Puerto Rican women from the slavery of the 1800's through immigration to contemporary independent woman is interesting and engaging. I learned a lot too! Beautiful cover illustration. A gem.
Anne Slater
This is a really engaging book with almost too much of a good thing.
The worst parts (please skip them!) are the first and last pages of text. Here is what they say (not spoiling anything)"These are my stories. Told just as they were told to me by my mother, to her by her mother... Please read them".
Her editor should have cut them The stories tell themselves.

A teensy suspension of disbelief is required if you are a total pragmatist and have no Dream Time in you.
Kari Walker
I love this book and the importance it gives to the oral tradition of families. While I did not spiritually identify with the gods presented, I definately identified with the idea that through storytelling we pass on identity. The women in this book were stronger and more successful the closer they got to their roots, and the more they embraced the legacy of where they came from.
Rebecca
I really thought this book and Figueroa storytelling was woven as beautifully as she describes the tapestry woven in the book. I loved each daughters book. Although when it came to Carissa's I felt like the author went off in a whole other direction and I just didn't relate to it as much as I did the other books. I wasn't expecting to be Wow'd but I sure was with this book.
Carla
Inspiring beautifully written book about five generations of women born into slavery. From Puerto Rico to New York, storytelling, a stone, the trial and tribulations of truly inspiring women. Heartfelt story that brought tears to my eyes. Survival comes in so many forms, and women truly do the best they can in whatever circumstances.
Katherine
I loved this book and I'm not entirely sure why. Strong women, reality, myth and the cylical nature of life through the generations. Llanos-Figueroa creates four generations of African Puerto Rican women who all have strong visionary abilities and all at some point deny them only to become whole as they accept their talent.
Robbin
Very sleepy book that takes a brief peek at five generations of women, beginning in West Africa, landing in Puerto Rico and then New York, and back to West Africa where it all began. Faint traces of Puerto Rico's slave history are revealed. An okay story, but nothing to write home about.
Kathy
Mar 14, 2012 Kathy rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: All my friends
This book was very interesting. He wove the African diaspora into the Puerto Rican experience. The story of fivewomen in a family that were bound together over generations. The book was very good and I lovedthestrength strength of the women to honor the ancestors.
Rosemarie
Excellent book about five generations of women descended from an African slave whose only momento of her homeland is a stone whose magical promise is that her descendants will thrive. Excellent book -- highly recommended!
Brittany
Such a beautiful book. I think women no matter what color they are should read this book. Teaches the importance of family, love, communication, pain, and ancestors. I loved it I will definitely pick it up again.
Nancy
This was an nteresting book tracing five generations of women descended from an African slave who was brought to Puerto Rico. Some of the writing was quite strong. At times I felt the characters lacked depth.
Tashia
This book takes you on an incredible of journey of slavery as it occurred from Africa to Puerto Rico. I enjoyed the history within and felt like I was at one with each characters story. Very well written book indeed.
Greta
Good story and I expect there will be a sequel. This book provides insight into the lives of women in Puerto Rico over several generations which I enjoyed very much.
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Dahlma Llanos-Figueroa was born in Puerto Rico and raised in New York City. She taught in the New York City school system before becoming a young-adult librarian. Her first novel, Daughters of the Stone, was a finalist for the PEN/Robert Bingham Fellowship for Writers. Dahlma has won the Bronx Council on the Arts ACE and BRIO awards, as well as a Literary Arts Fellowship. She lives in the Bronx."
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“Nightmares are for people who refuse to listen to their hearts. People who have lost their way, who are hollow. Fear slips into those hollow places. It is the very emptiness that draws the fear.” 8 likes
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