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August 20, 1995|CHARLES SOLOMON

THE GRASS DANCER by Susan Power (Ballantine: $5.99; 333 pp ). In this best-selling novel, Power depicts a multi-generational conflict on a Dakota Sioux reservation. Ghost Horse, a great warrior, and Red Dress, a powerful medicine woman, influence the lives of four generations of their descendants. Herod Small War uses the powers he inherits to preserve ancestral traditions; the redoubtable Mercury Thunder dominates others and wreaks vengeance. Power's moving narrative shows how an older, wiser way of life can transcend the trials of daily life but, as an eager anthropology student discovers, that way of life cannot be quantified and graphed by modern science.

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