Book Reviews

Decolonial Resiliance: Resistance and Healing in Dahlma Llanos-Figueroa's Fiction by Roberta Hurtado


Flipping the Script: Memory, Body and Belonging in Dahlma Llanos-Figueroa's Daughters of the Stone by C. Christian Lam



This book has been categorized on Amazon as: hispanic literature, latina studies, literary fiction, latin american studies, caribbean literature, contemporary fiction, puerto rican literature, women s fiction, afro-puerto rican literature 


Daughters of The Stone was awarded as a top 10 selectionfor 2010 at Black Pearls Magazine


Library Journal On-line Review 9/1/09   Llanos-Figueroa, Dahlma. Daughters of the Stone. Thomas Dunne Bks: St. Martin's. Sept. 2009. c.336p. ISBN 978-0-312-53926-9. $24.99. F 


In her first novel, Llanos-Figueroa chronicles the experiences of a seldom-discussed group, the descendants of African slaves in Puerto Rico. In a straightforward narrative style, sprinkled with magic realism, the book relates the stories passed from mother to daughter through five generations of powerful women, beginning with Fela, a proud West African who brings a stone of great power with her into slavery. Fela's daughter Mati uses the stone to become a curandera, or healer. In succeeding generations, each of Fela's female descendants alternately discovers her powers and then rejects them, experiences the failure of a husband to understand her needs, and makes mistakes with her daughter. Finally, Fela's great-great granddaughter Carisa returns to Puerto Rico from New York, rescues her ancestral stories from oblivion, and brings the power of the stone full circle. VERDICT This commanding exploration of women's history will resonate with readers of strong African American feminist narratives like those of Toni Morrison and Ntozake Shange. With its unflinching description of slavery, it should also appeal to readers of slave narratives like Charles Johnson's Middle Passage and Manu Herbstein's Ama: A Story of the Atlantic Slave Trade. [Library marketing.]

--Andrea Kempf, Johnson Cty. Community Coll. Lib., Overland Park, KS



"Dahlma Llanos-Figueroa’s Daughters of the Stone sings as few novels can. It also tells us of a culture and nation that is underrepresented in our literature: Puerto Rico. And it does so with brilliant flourishes, in a narrative both gripping and intimate. Conveying a wide sweep of history, as witnessed by several generations of women, the book has the warmth of autobiography while sustaining a firm and stately control of technique and language."

--PEN Literary Awards Program, October 13, 2010. 


"Beautifully written saga of five generations of Afro-Puerto Rican descent that shows all of their power, resilience and vulnerability. The stone in the title, along with some powers of magic are passed along from female to female among the descendants of Fela, an African women sold into slavery in Puerto Rico. Relationships between mothers and daughters are fully explored here with all the complications that entails. While some turn their back on the magic and "old ways" of their ancestors, the stories and the stone always endure and the generations are brought full circle in their journey."

--Uptown Literati


"Llanos-Figueroa's first novel is a beautiful, sensual tale of mothers and daughters, love and sorrow, hardship and pride. The story begins with Fela, a tall, mute West African woman who has been sold into slavery in Puerto Rico. The only memento from her homeland is a stone imbued with her prayers and hopes to bear a child. Torn from her husband, Fela accepts the attentions of the sugar plantation owner as a surrogate. Their child, Mati, relies on the stone to guide her to her ancestral truth and her own calling as a healer. Again, love is at cross purposes as her mate is eager to make a life as a freed black in the city and Mati is determined to stay at the country home deeded to her by her father. Their daughter, Concha, also has a way with plants and poultices but is frightened by their power, stung by her mother's devotion to her clients and drawn to her father's modern ways. When her own daughter, Elena, is entranced by Mati's stories of the past and the spirit, the rift between mothers and daughters grows. Concha's wise husband, Toño, sums up the situation: "All you women feel too much. Everything is too big with you. You love too big and fear too big and have too much anger and too few words." In the next generation, Carisa becomes the writer whose tales capture all the faith and failings and legacy of family."

--Minneapolis Star Tribune


"[A] compelling debut...Beautifully told by Llanos-Figueroa, this is an unforgettable saga of the magical beliefs binding one family for generations."



"Rejoice! Here is a novel you've never read before: the story of a long line of extraordinary Afro-Puerto Rican women silenced by history. In Daughters of the Stone, Dahlma Llanos-Figueroa rescues them from oblivion and richly, compellingly, magically, introduces them to literature--and to the world. Bienvenidas!"

--Cristina Garcia, author of A Handbook to Luck 


"This is a remarkable first novel, both magical and deeply real, that vividly renders the power of storytelling to a diasporic people. The story of each woman in her own time and place is like a luminous fiber, meticulously spun from hay into gold, which woven together creates an unforgettable history, grounded in a black stone that symbolizes the legends and rituals of the Old Ones, but spiraling into a wider world that connects stone to memory and earth to continents. I am happy to add such a clairvoyant new voice to the Latina literary heritage. Llanos-Figueroa's 'Fela', with her embroidery skills, her dreaming, and her dance of loss and survival, is kindred spirit to my own 'Concepción'. I could not resist the magnetic pull of these stories."

--Alicia Gaspar de Alba, author of Calligraphy of the Witch 


"The first non paranormal fiction novel I've read finished in ages--and it's magic realism! Daughters of the Stone, by a Puerto Rican YA librarian from the Bronx (That's hot!), tells of five generations of gifted women." 

--lower east side librarian 


"The best fiction allows the reader to believe that the stories--critical dispatches not so far removed from reality--could be true. Llanos-Figueroa's deeply personal work is a landmark example of a people's history that, while fictionalized, is nevertheless wholly true to life." 

--Brittany Shoot, ColorLines


Print Print | Sitemap
© 2017 Dahlma Llanos-Figueroa | Created by Evan T Bishop Orlando Gonzalez, painter, homepage image | Richard Stokes, photograper, book jacket | Dudley Vacianna, painter, book cover art