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1. Shadow Tag: A Novel
2. The Porcupine Year
3. Tracks
4. The Plague of Doves: A Novel (P.S.)
5. The Master Butchers Singing Club
6. The Painted Drum: A Novel (P.S.)
7. The Last Report on the Miracles
8. The Red Convertible: Selected
9. The Bingo Palace (P.S.)
10. The Birchbark House
11. Four Souls : A Novel (P.S.)
12. Love Medicine: Newly Revised Edition
13. Love Medicine (P.S.)
14. Love Medicine : A Novel (Perennial
15. Louise Erdrich's Love Medicine:
16. The Beet Queen: A Novel (P.S.)
17. The Game of Silence
18. Tales of Burning Love: A Novel
19. The Antelope Wife: A Novel
20. Books and Islands in Ojibwe Country:

1. Shadow Tag: A Novel
by Louise Erdrich
Hardcover: 272 Pages (2010-02-01)
list price: US$25.99 -- used & new: US$13.07
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0061536091
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description

"Here is the most telling fact: you wish to possess me.

Here is another fact: I loved you and let you think you could."

When Irene America discovers that her husband, Gil, has been reading her diary, she begins a secret Blue Notebook, stashed securely in a safe-deposit box. There she records the truth about her life and her marriage, while turning her Red Diary—hidden where Gil will find it—into a manipulative farce. Alternating between these two records, complemented by unflinching third-person narration, Shadow Tag is an eerily gripping read.

When the novel opens, Irene is resuming work on her doctoral thesis about George Catlin, the nineteenth-century painter whose Native American subjects often regarded his portraits with suspicious wonder. Gil, who gained notoriety as an artist through his emotionally revealing portraits of his wife—work that is adoring, sensual, and humiliating, even shocking—realizes that his fear of losing Irene may force him to create the defining work of his career.

Meanwhile, Irene and Gil fight to keep up appearances for their three children: fourteen-year-old genius Florian, who escapes his family's unraveling with joints and a stolen bottle of wine; Riel, their only daughter, an eleven-year-old feverishly planning to preserve her family, no matter what disaster strikes; and sweet kindergartener Stoney, who was born, his parents come to realize, at the beginning of the end.

As her home increasingly becomes a place of violence and secrets, and she drifts into alcoholism, Irene moves to end her marriage. But her attachment to Gil is filled with shadowy need and delicious ironies. In brilliantly controlled prose, Shadow Tag fearlessly explores the complex nature of love, the fluid boundaries of identity, and one family's struggle for survival and redemption.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (79)

3-0 out of 5 stars Painful reading, ugly characters, surprise ending brings it all together
I was ready to stop reading this book with only 50 pages to go. Irene and Gil were so ugly to each other and I had no sympathy for them. The worst is what they were putting their children through.They were utterly selfish adults with children as an audience. This being said, the writing was tight, though, and I was amazed at how with so little words the characters were so gut-wrenchingly portrayed. I won't give away the ending, but it brings everything together, and I started re-reading the book with a fresh perspective. Louise Erdrich is my favorite author, and this book seemed so totally out of character for her - until the end. It was a relief to finally read, in the last section, her calm and gentle writing again. Three stars because it was personally difficult for me to read this book, however, she remains a master writer.

5-0 out of 5 stars Shadow Tag
Ok, I'm not finished with the book, but I think this is one of Erdrich's best.The plot is tight and well-developed.Her characters are realistic, but mythical too.

4-0 out of 5 stars A quick read, but not an easy one.
The latest from Louise Erdrich is a difficult book to read since it is about the disintegration of a marriage, the impact on all members of the family and the ugliness of behavior that the situation can provoke. A quick read, but not an easy one.

4-0 out of 5 stars Shadow Tag
This novel is good; however, it is hard to get into. It isn't an easy read.I blamed it on the translation to English. Book was on Oprah's list of 10 best for summer reading.

4-0 out of 5 stars A woman, dissembled
Shadow Tag is remarkable, not only for its razor-tight pacing and unusual structure.Irene finds herself caught in a life that seems unliveable.Although she helped to create these confines, she sees no ability to change them.She is tied to Gil, who feels entitled to possess her and who uses violent threats to tell her so.He also threatens to deprive her of her beloved children, if she leaves.And Irene has just discovered how abusively Gil betrayed her trust, by infusing his paintings of her naked body - offered freely as his model - with violence and evil.Irene concludes she has no power.Irene has lost herself.

I love Irene.I wish Irene had understood that she was loved by God, no matter how ugly her life appeared, no matter how ashamed she was.I wish Irene had known that God would have given her the strength to try to change her life.This does not mean she could have ensured any particular outcome, nor even become "safe" in the physical world.But she would not have been alone.She was never alone.

Gil hurt, and some of Irene's acts were wrong and cruel.But Gil's primary pain was his family's hatred, which flowed directly from his own behavior.Gil committed violence against his family when he sought to force his love on them, when he sought to control their lives and hearts and reactions to his offerings.Gil committed violence against his family when he responded with anger rather than kindness, to their human failings.People do not love those who commit violence against them.Gil, too, needed God.Perhaps if Gil had understood that God saw him, and knew him, and loved him, then Gil could have offered true love to his family.And perhaps then, they would have lovedhim back. ... Read more

2. The Porcupine Year
by Louise Erdrich
Paperback: 224 Pages (2010-09-01)
list price: US$5.99 -- used & new: US$2.71
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0064410307
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description

Omakayas was a dreamer who did not yet know her limits.

When Omakayas is twelve winters old, she and her family set off on a harrowing journey in search of a new home. Pushed to the brink of survival, Omakayas continues to learn from the land and the spirits around her, and she discovers that no matter where she is, or how she is living, she has the one thing she needs to carry her through.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars Action packed!
Reviewed by Sara McGinn (age 9) for Reader Views (12/08)

"The Porcupine Year" by Louise Erdrich is a story about an Indian girl called "Omaykayas," which means Little Frog.Omaykayas is a girl from the Objibwe tribe. She and the rest of her family were exiled from their original home on the Island of the Golden-Breasted Woodpecker.She has many adventures!She and her brother were swept off-course when her brother was hunting by canoe.They soon landed on the other side of the island where they met a porcupine.That porcupine became her brother's medicine animal.On their way back to Omaykayas's family, she and her brother saw a memegwesi, which is a little person that only kids can see!

Also, Omaykayas once tricked an eagle and took two of its feathers! Because of this experience her dad dreamed her new name, Ogimabinesikwe or "Leading Thunderbird Woman."Later, she and her family were on their way to see Omaykayas's aunt, uncle and cousins when their uncle and two other men robbed them! It was really hard for them after that happened.Soon after, a tribe woman named Old Tallow died while killing a bear.Omaykayas was really close to Old Tallow so it was really hard for her.

This book was action-packed and wonderful!The author did a terrific job making me feel like I was in the book as one of Omaykayas's friends!My favorite part in this book is when Omaykayas and her brother find the porcupine. He tries to knock it off a tree but instead he gets quills all over his face!It was really funny!I also liked the Indian stories and I learned a lot of Ojibwe words.They are really cool!I would change nothing in this book because it rocked!!!

"The Porcupine Year" by Louise Erdrich is for 8 to 12-year-olds, which I think is perfect.I would definitely recommend this book to my friends!

5-0 out of 5 stars A journey fraught with dangers and marked by growing responsibilities
In Louise Erdrich's third novel about the joys and sorrows of a family of Ojibwe during the mid-19th century, Omakayas, the heroine of the series, is 12 winters old and feels caught in an in-between place: "She was that creature somewhere between a child and a woman --- a person ready to test her intelligence, her hungers. A dreamer who did not yet know her limits. A hunter, like her brother, who was beginning to possess the knowledge of all that moved and breathed. A friend who did not know how far her love might extend. A daughter who still winced at her mother's commands and who loved and shyly feared her distant father. A girl who'd come to know something of her strength and who wanted challenge, and would get it."

Omakayas's in-betweenness is mirrored by the exile of her family. After being pushed off Lake Superior's Madeline Island (the Island of the Golden-Breasted Woodpecker) by the United States government in order to make room for white settlers, Omakayas's family is on the move, hoping to rejoin the rest of their extended family near the Lake of the Woods in northern Minnesota.

Their journey is fraught with dangers and marked by growing responsibilities for Omakayas and her younger brother, Pinch. The novel opens with an alternating harrowing and humorous episode, which begins with the siblings losing control of their canoe in a rapid-filled river and culminates with Pinch's painful encounter with a porcupine. The boy's connection to the porcupine, which becomes his close companion, also results in his renaming as Quill. With his new name seems to come a new, more mature personality, as Omakayas's bad-mouthed, troublemaking little brother continues to exhibit new thoughtfulness, maturity and skill as a hunter and trapper.

Omakayas also must discover new skills and strengths, particularly in the face of adversity. After a devastating robbery leaves her party without food or supplies just at the start of the long, cold winter, Omakayas is forced to call on all her resources to help her family avoid starvation. Dangers abound --- from the black bears who are just as hungry as the Ojibwe to the bands of Bwaanag (Lakota) whose plain hunting grounds the Ojibwe travel near. By the end of their journey, Omakayas is older, wiser, perhaps a bit sadder after several losses, but also many steps closer to being a woman and not a little girl.

Like Omakayas and her family, THE PORCUPINE YEAR spends time looking backwards --- to the idyllic days on the Island of the Golden-Breasted Woodpecker --- and forward. The emphasis, however, is on the future. The novel drops hints about the girl's spiritual callings and future loves and closes Omakayas's ceremony marking her physical maturity as a woman. Readers will look forward to participating in Omakayas's continued transformation into a woman and a respected, full member of her community.

--- Reviewed by Norah Piehl

5-0 out of 5 stars Courtesy of Teens Read Too
Omakayas, or Little Frog, is now twelve winters old.Her family, members of the Ojibwe tribe, have been forced from their homes on the Island of the Golden-Breasted Woodpecker, and are now making the long journey to Lac Du Bois, where members of her extended family are living.

Omakayas and her family face many hardships throughout their journey.Omakayas and her brother, Quill, are almost killed in the rushing waters of a swollen river; their provisions for winter are stolen by an evil French trapper; and Old Tallow, Omakayas' elder, dies in a battle with a bear.Omakayas also becomes a woman during the hard winter they endure in the forest.

Through all of this, Omakayas discovers first love, the great power of storytelling, and her own inner strength.

THE PORCUPINE YEAR is the third installment in Erdrich's series of Omakayas and her family.Those who have read the first two novels will be happily reunited with the main character and follow her on new adventures.The chapters are short and flow well together.The illustrations also add to the humor and drama of the story.

Erdrich states in her author's note that Omakayas' story will continue into a fourth novel set in the 1860's.I am sure fans of the series will be excited to see what becomes of Omakayas as she continues her journey into adulthood.

Reviewed by:LadyJay

5-0 out of 5 stars Not a bit prickly
Louise Erdrich writes The Birchbark House. It becomes a National Book Award Finalist. No surprises there. Louise Erdrich writesThe Game of Silence. It does slightly better than its predecessor and wins the Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction. Very good, but still not surprising. Now the third book in Erdrich's "Birchbark House books" (surely there's a better name for them, right?) is present and accounted for. The Porcupine Year picks up where the last book left off without a glitch, hitch, or hiccup. Readers who have never read Erdrich's books in this series, or who haven't seen them in a very long time won't need much help in catching up and understanding Erdrich's magnificent world. How far will this latest installment in the chronicles of Omakayas and her family go? It remains to be seen. The only thing I can say with certainty is that The Porcupine Year does not disappoint. It gives the series a richness and fullness it might not have had before.

It's 1852 and 12-year-old Omakayas and her Ojibwe family are traveling west to escape the expansion of the white settlers encroaching on their land. In trying to decide where to go next, the family and their companions must choose a route. At last they decide to go north to be reunited with family there. All too soon the trip turns more perilous than anyone expected. There are other tribes to avoid, lost children to take care of, fires to escape, and a traitor whose actions bring about the death of a beloved character. Still, through it all Omakayas keeps a clear head and a loving heart. An Author's Note at the end offers additional information on the Ojibwe language and its many dialects. A glossary provides pronunciations and definitions of Ojibwe terms.

How do you recount a story about a people in dire peril of losing their way of life without making the book deeply, deathly, oppressively depressing? Some people would go the opposite direction and try to stuff the book full of false hopes and forced cheer. Credit Erdrich with indulging in none of this. Which is not to say that the book isn't often funny. As always, she has a sense of humor and what I liked most about The Porcupine Year was how that sense of the absurd filters in right from the start. At the beginning of the book Omakayas's brother Pinch gets a faceful of porcupine quills (the accompanying picture is worth the cover price alone). Then, when he and Omakayas return home to find their family convinced that the kids are dead, the boy has the audacity to suggest that it would be a perfect time for the siblings to cover themselves in flour and pretend that they are ghosts of themselves. That right there sets the tone for the rest of the book. On the one hand you have people dealing with very real issues and grief too huge to name. On the other hand, you have characters that key into the wonderful absurdity of life. You have people like Pinch who aren't afraid to get a little profane, even when people's hearts are panting on the floor (to steal a phrase). And an author who can strike that balance and strike it well is an author you should keep a close eye on. You never know where they're going to lead you next.

What also helps the book along is Erdrich's sense of how people really are and how they act when they're under stress. Sometimes you see the best in them, but more often than not you get all their insecurities and concerns on parade for everyone to see. There's a wonderful moment when Pinch (now Quill) is returned from a capture by his father Deydey that puts his mother's emotions on perfect display. Look at how Erdrich describes the scene. "Yellow Kettle always confused her affection with anger, and even as she put her head against Deydey's chest, she gave a furious shake of her hand at Quill and cuffed at him before he darted away." These little details make the book worth reading. I love the loving insults Omakayas and her brother throw at one another in the morning and how much she misses them when he gets distracted with other matters.

As with the Little House books (a series these books are often compared to), the characters in Erdrich's world learn and grow. I'm going to be sad indeed when Quill is too old to pull pranks and drive his sister nuts. Or when Two Strike isn't a headstrong hellion anymore. As with the previous books there's plenty of hardship, pain, and sorrow to this series. Yet there's always that tempering of the bleak with hope. The Porcupine Year serves to satisfy old fans and lure in new ones. Wherever Omakayas's journey takes her, we'll be poor indeed if we can't come along. A worthy companion piece. ... Read more

3. Tracks
by Louise Erdrich
Paperback: 240 Pages (2004-03)
list price: US$13.99 -- used & new: US$3.82
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060972459
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Set in North Dakota at a time in this century when Indian tribes were struggling to keep what little remained of their lands, Tracks is a tale of passion and deep unrest. Over the course of ten crucial years, as tribal land and trust between people erode ceaselessly, men and women are pushed to the brink of their endurance--yet their pride and humor prohibit surrender. The reader will experience shock and pleasure in encountering a group of characters that are compelling and rich in their vigor, clarity, and indomitable vitality. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (36)

4-0 out of 5 stars admirable prose
This my first book from Louise Erdrich. The setting is North Dakota and the timing of the story is early 20th century. People in the story are mostly Indians living on reservations. The main characters are Nanapush - an elderly wise man, Fleur - an odd character who was supposed to be a witch and Pauline - a mixed bred woman undergoing penance in a nunnery. The story is told from multiple first person points of view, alternated by Nanapush and Pauline. There are other characters like Kashpaw, Morriseys, Margaret (Kashpaw's mother).
Fleur is supposed to have an influence on the water monster living in the lake Machimmanito. This book depicts the struggle of people to make a living in harsh winter, trying to pay taxes to keep their land, Indian folklore, politics and cultural clashes, internal feud between two clans - Pillagers and Morriseys.
The narrative voice for both Nanapush and Pauline is different but in some chapters Nanapush is telling the story to someone and I couldn't figure out until few pages later on that Nannnapush is telling the story to Lulu. Erdrich has succeeded in building interesting characters. I don't recall I had come for a long time such a masterly prose. Almost every sentence is a gem. How does Erdrich do it?
But if you read this book and I strongly recommend you do, you need to keep the dictionary nearby. I had problem understanding the meaning of some of the words she used.
I am sure to read her next book `Love Medicine.'

2-0 out of 5 stars 2nd order never came
I did not receive the other book that I also ordered by the same author, Louise Erdrich. I did pay for it on my credit card. It has a long title, something like "The Last Miracles at ..." Please let me know when or if it is coming.I really want that book. thanks, Sr. Mary Rogers

1-0 out of 5 stars Painful, painful, painful
I appreciate an author's attempt at using creative narratives and vivid imagery, but only in small doses and when it serves to enhance the story.The problem with Tracks is that the narrative and imagery don't enhance the story. Instead, they confuse it and drag it down, slowing down the pace and making me wonder if it isn't just an attempt to flesh out what should really be a short story.Sometimes, more is just more, not better.I kept wishing Erdrich would stop playing with words and just tell the stupid story and get it over with. Just another great example of how Fiction has lost sight of storytelling in favor of novels that are so bogged down under the weight of their prose that they fail to engage readers.

1-0 out of 5 stars Boring
I very seldom not finish reading a book but I could not take more than half of this book.It rambled on - jumped all around - very confusing.Maybe it was me or the mood I was in - my apologies to those of you who liked it.

3-0 out of 5 stars Not as good as Expected
I had to read Love Medicine by Erdrich for my freshman year lit. class in college and loved it - I had never read anything about Indians before (even though I have Indian Heritage) and was captured by it and loved it - I made an A!
Years later - I was still thinking about how great Love Medicine was so I picked up Tracks and was expecting another great read... I did not enjoy this near as much - I did manage to finish the book (it got better midway through) but I would skip this read if I had to do it all over again.The stories were fascinating, but it seemed to drag on and on with no real ending.It left me feeling like I had wasted my time and ultimately was unsatisfied.It defiantly didn't quench my literary thirst...
... Read more

4. The Plague of Doves: A Novel (P.S.)
by Louise Erdrich
Paperback: 352 Pages (2009-05-01)
list price: US$14.99 -- used & new: US$3.97
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060515139
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

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The unsolved murder of a farm family still haunts the white small town of Pluto, North Dakota, generations after the vengeance exacted and the distortions of fact transformed the lives of Ojibwe living on the nearby reservation.

Part Ojibwe, part white, Evelina Harp is an ambitious young girl prone to falling hopelessly in love. Mooshum, Evelina's grandfather, is a repository of family and tribal history with an all-too-intimate knowledge of the violent past. And Judge Antone Bazil Coutts, who bears witness, understands the weight of historical injustice better than anyone. Through the distinct and winning voices of three unforgettable narrators, the collective stories of two interwoven communities ultimately come together to reveal a final wrenching truth.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (53)

5-0 out of 5 stars Awesome read!
I heard an interview of Louise Erdrich by Bill Moyers and he was so enamored of her work that I had to buy "The Plague of Doves" and "Shadow Tag."I am almost through with "Doves" and I am just astounded at the richness of her writing.Each time I pick up this book I am transported to North Dakota, and the lives of her characters - the present and past -- and the rich history of the Ojibwe and the early settlers who came and intertwined their lives with the native people.Incredible characters, incredible stories.A must read!

3-0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, but lacking
The Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, San Francisco Chronicle, and Christian Science Monitor named Louise Erdrich's The Plague of Doves a best book of the year. Narrated by several individuals, her novel spans the history of Pluto, North Dakota and an adjacent Ojibwe reservation. Evelina, a young half-Ojibwe girl, listens to the tales from her grandfather Mooshum. We also hear from Judge Antone Bazil Coutts, who falls in love with Evelina's aunt, and follow his ancestor and namesake in Pluto's early existence. Histories intertwine, and the present repeats and contradicts the past.

The Plague of Doves resembles a short story collection, though its chapters are more interconnected and less complete than short stories. Erdrich lovingly details the mannerisms of individuals and wide-sky thunderstorms, but the use of multiple speakers can distance and confuse the reader. Still, moments of brilliance and humor emerge in situations dramatic and mundane. The delightful but flawed Mooshum is a poignant creation. Holy Track is a haunting but underdeveloped figure. One dazzling section is told by the mentally ill Marn Wolde. She is married to the fascinating Billy, a Messianic (or satanic) figure of terrible charisma.

Unfortunately, Marn Wolde's wild commentary suffers from a lack of clarity, as does almost every segment. Dramatic events affect characters too little or too much, distracting from what is actually unfolding. Stereotypical characters like the heartless, self-righteous Father Cassidy also detract from the story's power.

Starvation, murders, lynchings, kidnappings, and romances connect in fated coincidences. However, a lack of realism and narrative drive muddies beautiful imagery. Thus the supposed final punch is more hollow than gut wrenching.

5-0 out of 5 stars Simply Beautiful
The Plague of Doves is easily the most beautiful piece of fiction that I've read all year. The unique voices of the narrators bring this haunting story to life, with dynamic characters that leap off the page and into the reader's heart. Using broad, bold strokes, Erdrich paints a vivid picture showing the way a single brutal act can echo through the generations, effecting everything and everyone in its path.

The lives of the characters in The Plague of Doves entwine and weave together into a dazzling tapestry. Louise Erdrich is a master storyteller, blending the characters' stories together flawlessly. These parallel vignettes work in concert with one another to form an exquisitely well-written novel. As one might imagine, the story is both complex and grand in scope, but the end product is a remarkably well-developed and cohesive tale.

The Plague of Doves is both lyrically written and delightfully intricate. When you open this book prepare to become lost within its pages, drawn into a different time and place. The sense of history, coupled with mystery and even a bit of humor makes The Plague of Doves a first-rate work of fiction. Erdrich takes her readers on a delicious journey - one that I am eager to repeat. I will definitely be looking for more of her books in the future.

4-0 out of 5 stars couldn't keep them straight
With Louise Erdrich as the author of this book, it pretty much goes without saying that the writing is excellent. But I think I would have enjoyed it a lot more if I'd been able to keep the characters straight. The book jumps from narrator to narrator and generation to generation, and I just didn't have a chance. Often the new narrator is someone only distantly connected (by relationship, all the action takes place in the same general area) to a previous narrator, and I kept asking Who is this person? Am I supposed to have any prior knowledge of this person's relationships with anyone I've already met? Although each character and each narrative section was very well done, it became very frustrating to try to read this as a cohesive story.

4-0 out of 5 stars Many Sparks, But Little Flame
I'll admit that I was disappointed with The Plague of Doves. I've read a little of Erdrich's work in the past, and this novel had certainly drawn some praise. It has its moments. You see many instances in the book of Erdrich's genius, but it doesn't add up, somehow, into a full novel for me. The whole thing just didn't quite live up to expectations.

The novel feels a little more like a collection of stories than like a novel, though the characters are all related to one another in some way. Some of these stories are wonderful. The most living sections of the book are those that possess a folkloric quality and have to do with the older members of the novel's community, Mooshun and Shamengwa. Mooshun, now a grandfather, is sort of a trickster figure at moments (his pranks on the Catholic priest are the funniest and most entertaining parts of the book), and his storytelling is the key thread to tie the novel together. Years ago, he was the only survivor among a party of Obijwe hung for the murder of a white family (they were, of course, innocent). That story, and the mysteries that surround it, is gradually told throughout the novel, with information added by multiple characters, and most of the characters are shaped in some way by the tragedy. Shamengwa, Mooshun's brother, provides a sort of spiritual center to the novel, as he plays music from his violin that gives voice to sorrows that truths that transcend words.

Other stories within the book, however, do not seem to fit with these. Particularly, the middle section tells the story of Billy Peace and his family as he founds a cult and as his family tries to survive his increasing sadism. That middle section is much more violent and grotesque than the rest of the book and seems, in terms of plot, tone, and theme, to be very disconnected from the other stories. Some stories, such as Evelina's, are fine in and of themselves but seem to stifle the development of the other trains of thought in the book.

I guess that's my main issue with the book, which may not be an issue for others. Once I finished the book, I found myself thinking that it was like a puzzle with many pieces which don't fit together. No thought or impression or image is brought to completion. It was difficult for me not to contrast The Plague of Doves with the last book I read, Jhumpa Lahiri's story collection Unaccustomed Earth, in which many separate stories do seem to work in harmony with one another. The Plague of Doves contains many great moments. It's certainly a readable and often enjoyable book. But its disparate parts fail to work together to create something entirely memorable. ... Read more

5. The Master Butchers Singing Club (P.S.)
by Louise Erdrich
Paperback: 416 Pages (2005-07-01)
list price: US$13.99 -- used & new: US$4.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060837055
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Having survived World War I, Fidelis Waldvogel returns to his quiet German village and marries the pregnant widow of his best friend, killed in action. With a suitcase full of sausages and a master butcher's precious knife set, Fidelis sets out for America. In Argus, North Dakota, he builds a business, a home for his family—which includes Eva and four sons—and a singing club consisting of the best voices in town. When the Old World meets the New—in the person of Delphine Watzka—the great adventure of Fidelis's life begins. Delphine meets Eva and is enchanted. She meets Fidelis, and the ground trembles. These momentous encounters will determine the course of Delphine's life, and the trajectory of this brilliant novel.

Amazon.com Review
Louise Erdrich's The Master Butchers Singing Club is a powerfully told story of love, death, redemption, and resurrection.After German soldier Fidelis Waldvogel returns home from World War I to marry his best friend's pregnant widow, he packs up his father's butcher knives and sets sail for America.He settles in Argus, North Dakota, where he sets up a meat shop with his wife Eva, who quickly befriends the struggling yet resourceful Delphine Watzka. Delphine, who runs a vaudeville show with her balancing partner Cyprian Lazarre, has returned home to Argus to care for her alcoholic father. While most of this emotionally rich novel focuses on the changing landscape of small-town life as seen through Delphine and Fidelis's eyes, Erdrich does a masterful job of illuminating hidden dramas through her secondary characters.Erdrich's portrayal of these various townsfolk, including members of the Master Butchers Singing Club, truly shows off her storytelling talent.Her ability to infuse each character with a distinct and multifaceted personality makes this novel an intimate and thought-provoking adventure. --Gisele Toueg ... Read more

Customer Reviews (101)

1-0 out of 5 stars The Master Butcher's Singing Club
I got half-way through this book and put it down. It wasn't rewarding to that point, and I figured there are too many other, better books to spend my time with.

The book started out strong but just lost its way. Characters are flat, dialogue pointless and it really didn't have much to do with the singing club. Even the one passage worth reading, about the morphine, needs more development.

I'm going to try reading another of Louise Erdrich's books, but this one isn't worth picking up.

1-0 out of 5 stars Boring, sloppy.. a waste of time
As much has already been written about the Master Butchers Singing Club this review is going to be very short. In holding with the previous critques, I agree that there are way too many overburdened plotlines carelessly jumbled together, a misleading title and all in all too much pathos. In the end I skipped through the pages, eager to wrap the story up! What I found extremely unnerving, too, was that Erdrich lets her German characters interject a few remarks here and there in their mother tongue. Only, why is it that their German is so unnatural, stiff and not once orthographically correct ("Wir haben verheiraten")? Maybe it is a question of cultural assimilation or, and this seems to be more like it, Erdrich just didn't take the time to go over the pages of her book once more after finishing (neither did her editors) and simply didn't bother to render an authentic novel!

5-0 out of 5 stars Life in Argus, North Dakota
I bought this book a long time ago intending to read it.Finally I got the chance and was glad I did.The book takes place in a small town in North Dakota plus a short time in Germany.The story tells about immigrants, Indians, metis and others who live in this little remote city if it can be called that.The time is shortly after World War I, supposedly the war to end all warsand ends just after the end of World War II.

Fidelis Waldvogel comes home after the war.His best friend has been killed.Everyone is poor, hungry and without hope.He knows he must leave his native land.To America he comes intending to become a butcher because this is his trade and he's a good one.He lands in Argus, North Dakota where he opens his store.He is fussy about the meat he uses, immaculate about his shop and so he prospers.He sends for his wife, Eva, and her son.Three more boys are born.Eva is a wonderful wife, mother, good cook, good housekeeper, good gardener, loves nature, loves life and dies too young.

Good hearted, hard working Delphine is the only child of the town drunk.She returns to town because she is worried about her father. Roy has embarrassed her many more times than she can count,but she loves him and knows that he loves her. He has brought his daughter up by himself, her mother has disappeared or died she doesn't know.He will not talk of her mother, possibly because it is too painful to speak of. There are a few blurry pictures in their small home.So the mother will always be a mystery to her daughter.Delphine has been touring the states with her partner Cyprian, a handsome Metis, whom she loves but he cannot love her because he is gay.The couple have an acrobatic act in which Cyprian stars.Cyprian is a talented acrobat, Delphine is just his partner.

Delphine gets a job at Fidelis's butcher shop.She and Eva become close friendsand se and marries Fidelis upon Eva's death because she can't marry Cyprian.There are many quirky, interesting and likeable characters.Roy even tries to do right by his daughter but falls into drininkg again and again.But he tries to quit.

There is hateful Tante, Fidelis' sister who follows him to America and dislikes this country.She dislikes both of Fidelis's wives and tries to take over his home when Eva dies. She is not a good cook or housekeeper.She stays in her Lutheran group and church, refuses to acclimate to the United States and wants to return to Germany.She gets her wish and takes Fidelis' two younger sons, twins, to Germany to be brought up as proper Germans.

Delphine's best friend, lovely Clarisse, works in a funeral home owned by her family.This is Clarisse's profession and she's good at it.But she gets into trouble, runs out of town just ahead of the police.She is never found.

This book is a good read, all the characters are fun, even hateful Tante.I recommend this book so get in touch with life in Argus, North Dakota.

3-0 out of 5 stars Would've liked more detail
When I was about half-way through this book, I really thought I'd be rating it five stars. I loved the depth of the characters. It's something that isn't seen in a lot of books, but Delphine and Cyprian seemed so human and poignant. When I first started the book, I admit, I was disappointed that I didn't get to see more of Fidelis and Eva's early relationship, but I excused it, telling myself that the story wasn't about how they came into each other's lives.

Somewhere beyond the halfway point, however, I began feeling cheated. I felt that every event which I'd begun to anticipate because the author was building up the anticipation, simply didn't pay off. I'd be awaiting something, and then suddenly months had gone by. And then years. The latter half of the book felt as if it was just fast-forwarded, and I got a few glimpses of various events that frankly weren't as meaningful to me as those I didn't get to see. I still feel it needs a high rating for how engrossing I initially found it and how real the characters were, but as a story, it was disappointing.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Butcher is a Good Man
The Master Butchers Singing Club (P.S.)
The Butcher in this story by Louise Erdrich is a highly trained butcher by profession, with a background in the German military as well, who traveled to the US after the war, carrying sausages and his set of knives, and built a new business, a family and a community of friends in the US.Hisstory is told by his wife and it is a rich story of the immigrant community, with characters I feel glad to have known. ... Read more

6. The Painted Drum: A Novel (P.S.)
by Louise Erdrich
Paperback: 304 Pages (2006-09-01)
list price: US$13.95 -- used & new: US$3.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060515112
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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While appraising the estate of a New Hampshire family descended from a North Dakota Indian agent, Faye Travers is startled to discover a rare moose skin and cedar drum fashioned long ago by an Ojibwe artisan. And so begins an illuminating journey both backward and forward in time, following the strange passage of a powerful yet delicate instrument, and revealing the extraordinary lives it has touched and defined.

Compelling and unforgettable, Louise Erdrich's Painted Drum explores the often fraught relationship between mothers and daughters, the strength of family, and the intricate rhythms of grief with all the grace, wit, and startling beauty that characterizes this acclaimed author's finest work.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (34)

3-0 out of 5 stars A flash of insight...
Sometimes, it's worth reading a book for a single sentence. The Painted Drum was one of those books. Don't get me wrong, I love Louise Erdrich. Her books are beautifully written, and her characters stay with you for a long time. But, lately I've gotten the impression that Erdrich has become trapped in her own formulas. Her designation as a Native American author has essentially shackled her creativity and forced her to travel in time-worn ruts of her own making. As a consequence, the best part of this book took place in modern day New Hampshire, not in the Native American past. As long as Erdrich stayed in New England, the dialogue sparkled, the characters were vivid and the plot was engaging. Had Erdrich taken the plunge and left the Native American theme out entirely, this book would have been all the better for it.

That being said, there was one passage in the Native American section that caught my eye and held it. On page 118, the character remarks that he has always had a longing, a need to "pierce through" his existence. "I am a boundary to something else, but I don't know what," he says. I read that passage with the dawning realization that Erdrich was talking about herself. That elusive "something else" is what has led Erdrich to increasingly fall back on Native American stereotypes (the "shaman", the "drunkard", the "grandmother")rather than give her characters flesh and blood. The problem, so clearly stated by her character, is that she herself is liminal--someone who marks the border of two cultures but doesn't really belong in either. Her inability to "pierce through" is ultimately what gives Louise Erdrich's writing its strange dreamlike quality. It also makes Erdrich the remarkable, ineffable, haunting writer that she is.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Painted Drum
Another excellent book by Louise Erdrich~!!My husband and I both enjoyed it, very much.

Keeps your interest from start to finish and is also very informative with regard to the American Indian and their customs.

I enjoyed it immensely and highly recommend it.

3-0 out of 5 stars Contemporary Sections are Better
Painted Drum has compeling themes about the responsibility and shortcoming between mothers and daughters. I won't say more since this is an important part of the novel since it ties the three narratives together.

Divided into three narrative styles. The contemporary setting with the main character and her mother is best. The "Native" sections going back two generations are so-so. I know Louise says she's Native, but I worry that she contributes more to the stereotypes of us by these types of writing. It's has no focus, we're drunks, we're lost in our traditions mixed with mysticism. Frankly, that doesn't do anything for us. Some of us still know who we are, can speak our languages, and attend our ceremonies, WITHOUT the aid of alcohol. We don't have study books to find them and ourselves. That's how I see Louse's contemporary characters. I didn't care for the second setting with a mother with no motherly instinct leaving her children in a cold house without food. (Has this woman heard for foodstamps? Don't talk to me about dignity. She wanted to pawn herself for food, but instead she gets stuck in a bar. Louse, stay away from Native characters on the rez!) Set in a contemporary setting but on the reservation, her elder daughters saves her siblings and hears the beating of the drum. She makes these characters almost comical, no development, and the writing bares to a level that I had to flip pages to find out how long this narrative would last before the better writing style resurfaced.

I like the themes of the book, and I think Louise could have written it from a contemporary New Hampshire setting for the entire book, and she would have achieved a better paced, interesting plot. Mixing the the other two lowered the writing quality, hence the three stars.

The contemporary setting has the most poetic writing. It's pretty, and I ended up re-reading sections because of its beauty.I bought the book because a friend read a section of it (the contemporary setting), and I was intrigued. I was not in the least bit disappointed in this respect.

Most people will fall for the exact things that perturbed me about this novel. I was also bothered that Louise left a lot of a lot of unresolved issues with the main character. She steals a drum, returns it on the belief that "white men" steal from Natives all the time, and justifies her belief, and gets away with the crime. I wanted her to not sit in the evening with her aging mother and feel sure of herself of having returned the drum to its rightful owner. I wanted a more complex novel with conflict. I understand Louise often returns to her characters, so she might very well investigate this character for a future novel. Stay tuned, I guess.

5-0 out of 5 stars Bittersweet and Joyous; The Painted Drum
The Painted Drum, by Louise Erdrich 10/10 (5/5)

I know I say this about many of the books I read, but I REALLY liked this book.I liked it so much that I intend to reread it sometime soon, after it has a chance to settle somewhat.Like many of Erdrich's books, this one is about Native Americans, and the voice feels authentic and human.It is divided in four parts.In the first, we meet a mother daughter team who deals with people's estates after they die, or go in a nursing home, etc.We also learn about their personal lives, and the personal and work intertwine in compelling ways.I hate reading reviews that give away the plot of the book or what's going to happen, but it is difficult to write about a book without mentioning an specifics.The daughter steals a painted drum, a Native American ceremonial drum, from an estate.She wants to return it to where it came from, to the Anishinabe people.In the second part, told by a native elder, we learn the story of the drum and all the events that lead up to the making of the drum and what happened to it afterwards.It's a multi-generational story with deep impact.The effect of the drum touches many people and their lives are enriched (or impoverished) as a result.The book is full of pain, tenderness and magic.Erdrich looks calmly at what it means to be human in all our imperfections, and raises our humanity up of few notches.It is melancholy in a bitterweet and somehow joyous way.I want to take nothing away from the telling of the story, all I can say is I hope anyone who might love it as I did will read it.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Painted Drum:A Heather Pugh Review
Louise Erdrich paints a story beautifully around the lives separate people in her book entitled The Painted Drum.The book itself is actually split into four sections, each giving the stories of different people and their tragic situations which come together through one common denominator, a sacred drum. With a rich history involving betrayal, death, grief and renewal, we come to find that the drum beats with the spirit of a lost child and through her spirit the characters in the story eventually find peace within their own lives.

The Painted Drum is very insightful when trying to gain a greater understanding of the grieving and strength that is ever present within the human condition.Louise Erdrich's own rich native history resonates through every word and the overall outcome is a brilliantly constructed piece of authentic literature that would be found enjoyable, touching, and educational by any reader.

The issue of spirituality is ever present even though characters throughout the story do not come off as extremely "religious".In this way, Erdrich shows the ways in which the natural world and spirits of the deceased act as healers and spiritual guides for those living here on this earth.In this same sense, there is also a strong wisdom that is found from animals in the story.And, as many Indians joke, a story isn't an "Indian story" unless it incorporates a dog.Well, there are dogs, coyotes, and wolves that each have a lesson of their own to offer the reader, so in this way, the story certainly qualifies as truly native.Memory and the pain that comes from the past is a large component at work as well and the past constitutes as a building ground for each of the characters. The incorporation of Erdrich's native vocabulary from the Ojibwe Tribe also adds to the novel's authentic nature.

Overall one of the most touching stories I've read in a long time!
... Read more

7. The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse: A Novel (P.S.)
by Louise Erdrich
Paperback: 400 Pages (2009-05-01)
list price: US$14.99 -- used & new: US$8.58
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0061577626
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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For more than a half century, Father Damien Modeste has served his beloved people, the Ojibwe, on the remote reservation of Little No Horse. Now, nearing the end of his life, Father Damien dreads the discovery of his physical identity, for he is a woman who has lived as a man. To further complicate his quiet existence, a troubled colleague comes to the reservation to investigate the life of the perplexing, possibly false saint Sister Leopolda. Father Damien alone knows the strange truth of Leopolda's piety and is faced with the most difficult decision: Should he tell all and risk everything . . . or manufacture a protective history though he believes Leopolda's wonder-working is motivated solely by evil?

Amazon.com Review
Over the course of 13 years and five novels, Louise Erdrich has staked out a richly imagined corner of North Dakota soil--her own Yoknapatawpha, whereevery character is connected to every other and nothing can be said tohappen for the first time. The Last Report on the Miracles at Little NoHorse is no exception. The report in question comes from Father DamienModeste, who has served the Ojibwe through a century of famine, epidemics,murders, and feuds. But the good priest is not what he appears. The prologueends with the curiously beautiful image of the old man slowly removingheavy robes, undergarments, and, at last, a bandage wound tightly aroundwomen's breasts: "small, withered, modest as folded flowers."

How--and why--could such a deception last so long? That's the firstmystery. The second begins when Father Jude Miller (a name familiar toreaders of The BeetQueen) arrives to investigate the life of Sister Leopolda (orPauline Puyat, another familiar name). Was Leopolda a saint? Or itsopposite, whatever that is? Miracles, after all, are a part of thereservation's everyday life; for every nun's stigmata there's a secularwonder like the death of Nanapush. Indeed, the chapter detailing this oldtrickster's demise is the kind of earthy, tragicomic fable Erdrich does toperfection, including as it does an extended trial by moose, death byflatulence, and not one but two lustful resurrections.

Erdrich's writing is at its best when she chronicles the bittersweet humorof reservation life. It's at its worst, sadly, when she cranks up the fogmachine and goes for the violins. ("He had the odd sensation that petalsdrifted in the air between them, petals of a fragrant and papery citrusvelvet," she tells us, telegraphing Father Jude's attraction to a woman.)But at least the book's sins are sins of ambition--this is a novelist whorevisits the same territory because the capaciousness of her vision demandsit. Readers may forgive Erdrich's vagueness about Father Damien's religiouscalling, but they will never forget her images, as lovely and surprising asfigures glimpsed in a dream: the devil in the shape of a black dog, his pawin a bowl of soup; freshly planted pansies, nodding at the priests' feet"like the faces of spoiled babies"; a woman in a billowing white nightdressriding a grand piano through the "gray soup" of a flood. Moments like theseare small miracles of their own. --Mary Park ... Read more

Customer Reviews (48)

5-0 out of 5 stars A rich flow of almost musical storytelling
The novel begins with a genealogy chart to help keep track of the characters. Sure enough there are miracles (that the down to earth can explain) and a rich flow of almost musical storytelling.

5-0 out of 5 stars Life on a midwest reservation in 1912
The incredible life of Father Damien is chronicled with very entertaining and humorous details as she manages to survive some incredible obstacles that lead her to the role of priest at a Native American village in Minnesota. The life that she inherits allows her to come very close to the native lifestyle of the village and the inhabitants are a group of brilliant and very humorous characters that have already created a very impelling saga of their own. This was the first book that I have read by Louise Erdrich, and I plan to read many more.Dancing on the Edge of an Endangered Planet

5-0 out of 5 stars A trip into darkness worth taking.
I can only write this: if you are a fan of paranormal fiction and the strangeness of Catholicism, you will find this book has plenty of both. The words at times are spine chilling. The plot is detailed and at times confusing. Through it all the persona of Father Damien shines. A complex and weird individual, Agnes/Father Damienbrings to light all the hypocrisy of Christianity and all the good of the human soul especially when it comes to sexuality. Give this book chance, it's metaphors run deep.
The Angel Hunter

5-0 out of 5 stars A Perfect Book
Last Report falls in the category of books for me that I would term 'perfect.' The characters are richly drawn, the writing is deft and lyrical, and the storyline itself is an amazing journey. Erdrich has proven herself again and again as an accomplished writer. This is the book (imho) that puts her solidly in the 'literature' category. She explores many of her favorite issues of faith, spirituality, doubt, regret and redemption. This is a book that resonated deep in my mind (dare I say soul?) with scenes that have revisited me long after I finished reading it. Beautiful, disturbing, at times funny, haunting. In short, a perfect book.

5-0 out of 5 stars A delicate situation
This is the most marvelous story of a woman who felt she was needed as a man rather than as a man, so she became a Roman Catholic priest and missionary to a group of Ojibwehs (Native Americans) in northern Minnesota and North Dakota and in southern Manitoba.Curiously enough, most of the people she served knew she was a female who had a secret and compelling reason be their priest, and she was accepted by them as the priest she thought she had become.
Louise Erdich created a most unusual life with this book, one I will want to read several times. ... Read more

8. The Red Convertible: Selected and New Stories, 1978-2008
by Louise Erdrich
Paperback: 512 Pages (2010-01-01)
list price: US$14.99 -- used & new: US$8.37
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0061536083
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Three decades of short fiction by one of the most innovative and exciting writers of our day

In Louise Erdrich's fictional world, the mystical can emerge from the everyday, the comic can turn suddenly tragic, and violence and splendor inhabit a single emotional landscape. The fantastic twists and leaps of her imagination are made all the more meaningful by the deeper truth of human feeling that underlies them. These thirty-six short works selected by the author herself—including five previously unpublished stories—are ordered chronologically as well as by theme and voice, each tale spellbinding in its boldness and beauty. The Red Convertible is a stunning literary achievement, the collected brilliance of a fearless and inventive writer.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (9)

5-0 out of 5 stars The Red Convertible
Louise Erdrich could thrill me with a written grocery list! Her books are the types that move you to say at the end, What a book, and then sit there mesmerized! She instills a deep emotion within, which I cherish.

5-0 out of 5 stars Something New
I always rejoice when there is a new Louise Erdich book that I haven't read yet. I always get something out of it and really enjoy the ride. I feel like her characters are my family. Who I get to meet and know through these stories. This is an excellent representative collection.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Author and Great Book!
Have been a fan of this author for years - glad to see an anthology of sorts. Have been enjoying it and look forward to the rest.

3-0 out of 5 stars Intense and Strong
I am a Louise Erdrich fan and have read most of her novels. This book however weighed me down and I was anxious to finish it. The writing was excellent as always but the stories were so powerful and filled with tragedy and trouble that I found them hard to read: maybe because the stories are compressed as opposed to her novels where the heavy parts aren't so concentrated.

My favorite story was "A Wedge of Shade".
"I drag more pillows down from the other rooms upstairs. There is no question of attempting the bedrooms, the stifling beds. And so, in the dark, I hold hands with Gerry as he settles down between my mother and me. He is huge as a hill between the two of us, solid in the beating wind."

5-0 out of 5 stars I love Louise
In addition to being from North Dakota, Louise Erdrich writes wonderful stories. Her words create imagery and delight - always with a surprising ending. I have never read an Erdrich novel I didn't thoroughly enjoy. ... Read more

9. The Bingo Palace (P.S.)
by Louise Erdrich
Paperback: 274 Pages (2006-09-01)
list price: US$13.99 -- used & new: US$5.60
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B003H4RBIK
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description

At the crossroads of his life, Lipsha Morrissey is summoned by his grandmother to return to the reservation. There, he falls in love for the very first time—with the beautiful Shawnee Ray, who's already considering a marriage proposal from Lipsha's wealthy entrepreneurial boss, Lyman Lamartine. But when all efforts to win Shawnee's affections go hopelessly awry, Lipsha seeks out his great-grandmother for a magical solution to his romantic dilemma—on sacred ground where a federally sanctioned bingo palace is slated for construction.

Louise Erdrich's luminous novel The Bingo Palace is a tale of spiritual death and reawakening; of money, desperate love, and wild hope; and of the enduring power of cherished dreams.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (8)

3-0 out of 5 stars "Death is the golden key that opens the palace of eternity." John Milton
This is a story of the growth and maturation of Lipshaw Morrisey.

Lipshaw is the illegitimate son of June Kashpaw and Gary Nanapush. He's summoned back to the reservation by his grandmother Lulu Martine. Her method of summons is to send a wanted poster with his father's photo on it.

This effective wake up call makes Lipshaw examine his life. He thinks of the world of drugs, his dead end job and bleak future. After looking at the direction he was going, he packs his car and heads back to the reservation.

When Lipshaw was a child we learn that "...spirits pulled his fingers." He was a hope for the people. He finished high school and did well on the North Dakota college tests but became another reservation statistic.

There are few jobs available for someone without training or education and he accepts a job as night watchman at the Bingo Palace. He also sees Shawnee Ray and falls in love with her. He isn't alone in his pursuit of her as she is also being sought after by Lipshaw's boss, his uncle Lyman Lamartine.

Erdrich's writing is rich with description and imagery. When Lipshaw and Shawnee Ray are with friends, she asks if he wants to kiss her. He answers, "Not here, our first kiss has to be a magic moment only we can share."

Louise Erdrich possesses a unique talent for creating characters who have an individuality that makes the reader want to learn more of their lives. With Lipshaw, we see his early promise but like many members of the Chippewa Nation, he seems content with a meager existence, his position as night watchman and his bingo earnings.

There are streams of hope in Shawnee Ray's future goals but we learn that many goals are just dreams that fade away in the mist.

1-0 out of 5 stars My first and only LE book and it stunk!
I don't know why I had the misfortune to pick up this Louise Erdrich book out of all her other ones at the bookstore.

This was one of the most painful books I have ever read.The writing was stilted and unnatural.I like books that are a bit sad and melancholy and depressing, but there was something about the complete and utter negativity of the story and the characters that was too much.Maybe it had to do with the fact that I felt no compassion for any of these unlikable characters.Their constant bad choices one after another.I knew from the beginning of the book that nothing would turn out well for any of the characters especially the hapless and directionless Lipsha.

5-0 out of 5 stars Literary Masterpiece
This being one of Louise Erdrich's earlier works, it forms the basis and framework for the wonderful works that follow. This purchase was a gift, as it is one of my very favorite books by any writer, nevermind by Louise Erdrich, and I have an older edition permanently placed in my front bookcase (for ease or re-reads). Please, read this great book and then what follows along with the connected works by another great writer, Winona Laduke, and you have weeks, months and years of wonderful literary experiences...which will stay with you forever...I don't really want to spoil the fun, except to say that both Erdrich and Laduke write beyond the Native American genre and world: they touch the human condition and offer the experience to the reader....

5-0 out of 5 stars Very enjoyable but read the other books first
I just love Louise Erdrich's books. I didn't read her fiction until after I read her book "Books and Islands in Ojibwe Country", which is nonfiction. Anyway, I really enjoyed this book, and while it is somewhat impossible to describe the complete plot (and saying "Lipsha is in love with Shawnee" doesn't do it justice), Lipsha is developed into a sympathetic figure, and Lyman is also rounded out more. It's amazing how LE can spin an interesting narrative out of (mostly) ordinary events.I would love to read more about Lipsha and the other, younger members of the families. They seem so real now, after reading the other books such as "Tracks", "Love Medicine", etc.

4-0 out of 5 stars Richly told, but too mythic
Erdrich's latest novel of modern native American life centers on a bright, but aimless young man.Lipsha Morrisey is adrift, one foot in America, one on the North Dakota reservation. Son of a crazy woman and a convict, the tribe has given up on the young man who once showed promise - a product of families recalled from Erdrich's previous books "(Love Medicine," "The Beet Queen," "Tracks").

Summoned back to the reservation by his grandmother for reasons that never come clear - a last chance to make something of himself as an Indian? Lipsha falls in love with the beautiful Shawnee Ray, who's slated to marry the tribal entrepreneur, her son's father, Lyman Lamartine. Lyman is handsome, muscled, skilled in tribal traditions, worldly wealthy and ambitious for tribal power and American success. He is all that Lipsha is not.

But Lipsha believes the strength of his love is a match for all of Lyman's assets. Endowed with his mother's luck, granted him in a vision devoid of love, Lipsha begins to win at Bingo. For Shawnee Ray he amasses unearned wealth, squanders his spiritual power, dreams of greatness in his future, and wastes his present in floundering and backsliding.

Although Lipsha's present is the primary focus, the novel dips into the past with chapters centered around other tribal members including both his grandmothers, his mother, Lyman, Shawnee Ray, and Zelda Kashpaw,Lipsha's aunt and Shawnee's self-appointed guardian. There's also a Greek Chorus sort of voice that speaks with the whole tribe's sorrowful wisdom.

This organization keeps a certain distance between the novel and the reader. Lipsha's obsession widens the gulf. His hunger for Shawnee Ray so overwhelms that it bores. Shawnee becomes the focus of Lipsha's every act but there's so little contact between them that passion never develops into love. Lipsha never develops at all.

Erdrich's prose is vivid and spare, always flowing, moving. Every sentence seems infused with the long history, hardship and spiritual mystery of Indian life. Her characters are enigmatic and firmly anchored in the Dakota setting. But for all this richness, the story never connects, remaining more mysterious than moving. Readers of her earlier novels, who can place this one in a wider context, should enjoy the book more than new readers who may be left cold by too-brief glimpses into too many hearts. ... Read more

10. The Birchbark House
by Louise Erdrich
Paperback: 256 Pages (2002-06-03)
list price: US$6.99 -- used & new: US$3.26
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0786814543
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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"[In this] story of a young Ojibwa girl, Omakayas, living on an island in Lake Superior around 1847, Louise Erdrich is reversing the narrative perspective used in most children's stories about nineteenth-century Native Americans. Instead of looking out at 'them' as dangers or curiosities, Erdrich, drawing on her family's history, wants to tell about 'us', from the inside. The Birchbark House establishes its own ground, in the vicinity of Laura Ingalls Wilder's 'Little House' books." --The New York Times Book ReviewAmazon.com Review
Nineteenth-century American pioneer life was introduced to thousands ofyoung readers by Laura Ingalls Wilder's beloved Little House books.With The Birchbark House, award-winning author Louise Erdrich'sfirst novel for young readers, this same slice of history is seen throughthe eyes of the spirited, 7-year-old Ojibwa girl Omakayas, or LittleFrog, so named because her first step was a hop. The sole survivor of asmallpox epidemic on Spirit Island, Omakayas, then only a baby girl, wasrescued by a fearless woman named Tallow and welcomed into an Ojibwa familyon Lake Superior's Madeline Island, the Island of the Golden-BreastedWoodpecker. We follow Omakayas and her adopted family through a cycle offour seasons in 1847, including the winter, when a historically documentedoutbreak of smallpox overtook the island.

Readers will be riveted by the daily life of this Native American family,in which tanning moose hides, picking berries, and scaring crows from thecornfield are as commonplace as encounters with bear cubs and firesideghost stories. Erdrich--a member of the Turtle Mountain Band ofOjibwa--spoke to Ojibwa elders about the spirit and significance ofMadeline Island, read letters from travelers, and even spent time with herown children on the island, observing their reactions to woods, stones,crayfish, bear, and deer. The author's softly hewn pencil drawings infuselife and authenticity to her poetic, exquisitely wrought narrative.Omakayas is an intense, strong, likable character to whom young readerswill fully relate--from her mixed emotions about her siblings, to herdiscovery of her unique talents, to her devotion to her pet crow Andeg, toher budding understanding of death, life, and her role in the naturalworld. We look forward to reading more about this brave, intuitivegirl--and wholeheartedly welcome Erdrich's future series to the canon ofchildren's classics. (Ages 9 and older) --Karin Snelson ... Read more

Customer Reviews (57)

3-0 out of 5 stars Winning characters, but not much happens
Somewhere in Birchbark House there is a good book trying to get out. Maybe that's unfair, but I like pithy, and this book is anything but.

Omakayas is a seven-year-old girl adopted at about age two when her birth people all die of smallpox. She lives with the Ojibwa tribe in Minnesota in 1847. It's not clear to me whether her birth people were Ojibwa, too. The book is a year in the life of the people, including a smallpox epidemic, and a brutal winter that nearly causes them to starve. Omakayas apparently has a special affinity for bears and a talent for healing, possibly the ability to understand the spirits of the earth.

Not much happens beyond disease and hunger. I generally like books with little plot, but this feels too free-form to me -- as if Erdrich just wanted to fictionalize her research into quotidian Ojibwa life. Still, at times it won me over. The characters, in particular her perky little brother, Pinch, were realistic.

5-0 out of 5 stars you'll love the suspense
The Birch Bark House written by Louise Erdrich was an excellent read.The main character is Omakays, or Little Frog; she has two brothers Neewo, and Little Pinch who later is called Big Pinch and her sister Angeline. She faces many challenges for a young girl of seven winters, including the deadly small pox, who she really is, severe hunger, and loss of ones she loves. The setting is on an island on Lake Superior, home to the Anishinabe, approximately 1847.

I enjoyed this book because it uses precise details of events that happen to Little Frog and her family during that year. For example small pox "It was hearing of his death in hushed tones, though, the next day, she would always recall. The report of it. For the horror flooded swiftly from house to house, lodge to lodge. He died of small pox"(pg 1). I also enjoyed this book because it was a real page turner I found that I could not stop reading chapter after chapter no matter what time it was, or if I had to do something. For example, in chapter 10 The Visitor, I just had to read so I would know what happened after the smallpox outbreak. Something that could have been done a little better by the author was the setting. It could have been more precise, for example when Little Frog met her "bear brothers" I really didn't understand where she was, other than somewhere in the woods looking for little red heartberries. Other than that simple flaw The Birch Bark House was an awesome read. Katrina b

4-0 out of 5 stars Birchbark House
This book was a great journey through a young Native American Girls life. This story takes us through the tough and scary times of a Native American culture. Children would be able to use this to relate the cultures of the past that were in Michigan to the cultures that we have here today. Learning of her struggles will allow students to sympathies with Omakyas. Children back then are not so much different today. We still go through trials and hardship. This would be a great book to read a loud and discuss the similarities and differences from students own lives. The day-to-day life of this little girl was filled with work tanning hides, gather berries and a lot more. Even though it is fiction, it still carries meaning and certain situations did happen in the Native American culture.

5-0 out of 5 stars Worth Reading by Just About Anyone
I thoroughly enjoyed this sometimes light and sometimes serious story about a little girl growing up in the great lakes region with her adoptive family in the 1800s.The illustrations add a lot to the story, as do occasional lessons in Ojibwe terms that are commonly used by the characters. Every character in the extended family is distinct and interesting - including some significant animals in the woods.

This would be an excellent read-aloud book for ages 6 and up, and good reading material for anyone 9 or older.

5-0 out of 5 stars A great read for adults too!
I've passed this book to my adult friends and family, and all agree it is a 'wonderfilled' book.Very descriptive of Native Americans life.Interesting time frames, smallpox and French traders, but mostly the story of a Native family.It also captures the pain of loss, the helplessness of people facing their future.My so cool 28 year old nephew admits to 'crying his eyes out'.I wondered if it would be too sad for kids, but the reviews I read don't seem to mention it. Perhaps Erdrich's mastery is such that those experienced with loss, who sympathize with the Native American plight will weep, the innocent will be shielded by their youth.
A great story. ... Read more

11. Four Souls : A Novel (P.S.)
by Louise Erdrich
Paperback: 240 Pages (2005-07-01)
list price: US$13.95 -- used & new: US$5.30
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B000ENWIK8
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
In the world of interconnected novels by Louise Erdrich, Four Souls is most closely linked to Tracks. All these works continue and elaborate on the intricate story of life on a reservation peopled by saints and false saints, heroes and sinners, clever fools and tenacious women. Louise Erdrich reminds us of the deep spirituality and the ordinary humanity of this world, and these works are as beautiful and lyrical as anything she has written.


Set in North Dakota, Tracks is a tale of passion and deep unrest. Over the course of ten crucial years, as tribal land and trust between people erode ceaselessly, men and women are pushed to the brink of their endurance -- yet their pride and humor prohibit surrender. The listener will experience shock and pleasure in encountering characters that are compelling and rich in their vigor, clarity, and indomitable vitality.

Four Souls

A strange and compelling woman decides to leave home, and the story begins. Fleur Pillager takes her mother's name, Four Souls, for strength and walks from her Ojibwe reservation to the cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul. She is seeking restitution from and revenge on the lumber baron who has stripped her reservation. But revenge is never simple, and she quickly finds her intentions complicated by her own dangerous compassion for the man who wronged her.

Performed by Anna Fields. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (11)

4-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful sequel to Love Medicine
I read Love Medicine about two years ago and it was my introduction to Erdrich.I liked Love Medicine.I was at the Big and Nasty bookstore and found Four Souls on sale for $4.98 so I bought it relying on my previous enjoyment of the author.

I am so glad I did.This book is very good.Erdrich has a great comedic gift.There are parts of this book that will make you howl.But don't think this is a comedy.This is a comedic tragedy, with the destruction of life and trust.Ms. Erdrich is a graeat voice and I highly recommend this book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Glad I read Tracks first
What a beautiful book.I'm so glad I read Tracks first, and this book makes me itch to reread Love Medicine.There are subtle life lessons here, wisdom.Of the 3 or 4 books I've read by this author, this is the most,hmmm...touching?A wonderful story.

3-0 out of 5 stars A Joke on itself
At the end of Louise Erdrich's Tracks, the fearsome, fetching, dangerously divine Fleur Pillager--a Chippewa earth mother so idolized by the author as to seem a form of creative self-caricature--finally walks away from her beloved patch of Dakota forest, abandoning it to the whim and destruction of white loggers and tribal sellouts. Erdrich's latest finds the indomitable Fleur trudging all the way to Minneapolis, where she hires on as a laundress in the home of a wealthy timber baron simply in order to take his life in revenge. Fortunately or not, however, Erdrich doesn't like her dishes served cold, and soon a bedroom farce breaks out amid the tragedy. Thus Four Souls juxtaposes the silly and the somber, the ribald and the elegiac. Nuance heeds the DO NOT DISTURB sign and generally stays away.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Great Story Told Well
Louise Erdrich is among my favorite authors.She weaves moving, human plots together with the intricacy of a well-told poem.Her landscapes make one gasp and her characters make one believe.So it is through this biased lens that I picked up Four Souls, read it, and also loved it.

Fleur Pillager walks to Minneapolis to kill John James Mauser.That's the premise, but along the way she devises a punishment worse than death. See Mauser stole her family's land and clear cut the prized trees, leaving her family as poor as destitute as the rest of the Ojibwe in Northern Minnesota.What's her plan?Nurse Mauser back to health from his poison-gas induced illness and get him to fall in love with her.

It's such an accomplished story told beautifully that I really can't add to it in a longer review without giving away more of its magic. Please, read this one, and Tracks the novel about Fleur Pillager that precedes it.

- CV Rick, February 2008

4-0 out of 5 stars The changing world of American Indians and a good story
Through the years I've read several books by Louise Erdrich.She's a good writer although sometimes I find her narrative to be a bit confusing.This is the case in her 2004 "Four Souls" in which she uses a character she's used in books before, an American Indian woman named Fleur Pillager.

The book had a good beginning.It's set in the Midwest in the 1920s.Fleur is out for revenge against the wealthy white man who had stolen the Indian's land.Her plans are to make him suffer, but she soon discovers that he is very ill.She becomes a laundress in his household and manages to cure him with the intent of making him suffer later.Things don't work out exactly as she planned though and, as the story unfolds, she becomes hard to understand.

There are several narrators.One is Polly Gheen, the gently-raised spinster sister-in-law of the wealthy man.I loved her voice and the way she tells her story.Another narrator is Nanapush, an aging Indian man who is still on the reservation.I suspect he had appeared in other books about Fleur and one of the problems of "Four Souls" is that the back-story isn't clear.But Nanapush sure is clear.He's both comical and wise and managed to make me laugh out loud.He and his wife Margaret are always fighting but he loves her tremendously with a passion not usually aspired to elderly people. He commits some very foolhardy acts to show that love and this is where the book seems to turn into a farce. Margaret is a narrator too and it's nice to get her point of view as the story unfolds.

The book is short, a mere 201 pages and an easy read.I enjoyed being thrust into the contrasting worlds of the both the rich people and the American Indians.Some of the central characters needed more development though, especially Fleur.After the first chapter, she appears in the story but always through someone else's eyes.And, after I finished the book, I was left to wonder about some of the details.I suspect this is because this novel is actually a sequel. Therefore I always felt I was missing something.

In spite of its faults though, I did enjoy Four Souls.But I would suggest you read some of her earlier books in order to enjoy it more. ... Read more

12. Love Medicine: Newly Revised Edition (P.S.)
by Louise Erdrich
Paperback: 400 Pages (2009-05-01)
list price: US$14.99 -- used & new: US$7.59
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0061787426
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

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The stunning first novel in Louise Erdrich's Native American series, Love Medicine tells the story of two families, the Kashpaws and the Lamartines. Written in Erdrich's uniquely poetic, powerful style, it is a multi-generational portrait of strong men and women caught in an unforgettable drama of anger, desire, and the healing power that is love medicine.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (7)

4-0 out of 5 stars Had to read for English 100
To the reviewer that couldn't get into the story by the first 20 pages or so...I felt the same, but had to read for college English class. Aroung 25% of the way into the story, the connection was made and I couldn't put it down!

5-0 out of 5 stars A Very Special Story, Beautiful Told
This is a multigenerational story of two American families, the Lamartines and the Kashpaws, told in interrelated short stories. If you've never been on an Indian Reservation, you'll feel you have been when you've finished this book. You'll find love and desperation here. You'll come across despair. You'll see so much more than you bargained for when you started this book that is oh so special and oh so beautifully told.

5-0 out of 5 stars Good read
Really enjoyed this book.It was a selection for my book club.Glad I had the opportunity to read it.Recommended.

2-0 out of 5 stars boring w/a Capital B
Tried to read this little "ditty" for a book club next month. Couldn't get past the first 10-20 pages. True to my beliefs: if a book doesn't suck me in in the first 10-20 pages I'm on to higher ground. Kathryn Stewart

4-0 out of 5 stars Love Medicine
Very well written. After I received it I realized that I had read it yrears back and that is about all that I remember. ... Read more

13. Love Medicine (P.S.)
by Louise Erdrich
Paperback: 367 Pages (2000-06)
list price: US$13.75 -- used & new: US$7.45
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0072434198
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

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Beautiful reissue of Louise Erdrich's most famous novel, from one of the most celebrated American writers of her generation.Set on and around a North Dakota reservation, 'Love Medicine' tells of the intertwined fates of two families, the Lamartines and the Kashpaws. The women at the heart of this extraordinary community are survivors in a harsh and tumultuous world, united and sustained by the strength and diversity of their love -- the sweet delusion of the flesh; the powerful pull of blood ties; the affection for the old ways vying with the irresistible lure of the new. Their voices mingle and blend to form a continuous braided sequence of narratives which pulse with the sheer energy and drama of life.Greeted with great critical acclaim when first published in 1984, 'Love Medicine' won the US National Book Critics' Circle Award. Louise Erdrich has now substantially revised and expanded the novel for this edition, to complement its companion novels, 'The Beet Queen, Tracks' and 'The Bingo Palace'. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (72)

5-0 out of 5 stars An unbelievably good read
I first came upon this author at the thrift store, and read The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse book through without stopping, I loved it that much.I now have every one of Erdrich's other books, and have loved them all.The people here who rate this one or two stars have NOT read this carefully or thoughfully, or maybe shouldn't be reading anything more difficult than a Danielle Steele novel.These are so lyrical and full of heart and meaning, so deep.I am in heaven reading these, all of them!

5-0 out of 5 stars My favorite fiction book...
Anybody who enjoys a book, needs to read this novel. It's the best you'll ever come across, believe me. From beginning to end, it's a book you won't be able to put down.

5-0 out of 5 stars A multi-perspective and multi-generational tale.
Love Medicine tells a multigenerational story that spans many decades, lives, marriages, loves, and deaths. It is an ambitious novel that both attempts to provide a widescreen view of life as it interconnects across blood and generations while simultaneously reserving the right to zoom into quiet moments that, while they may seem insignificant at the time, blossom in import as author Louise Erdrich scales back her view to reveal the intricate nature of her story. The novel centers around the two poles of the Kapshaws and the Larmartines, two families who live on an Ojibwe reservation in North Dakota. These families are not made up of traditional nuclear units, and Erdrich must provide an intricate and looping family tree just so the reader understands who is related to whom.

Each chapter of Love Medicine presents itself as a short story, a common technique for a first novel. However, what separates Love Medicine from other novels who have taken the same approach is the way Erdrich utilizes the shifting point of view to provide a multifaceted view of characters and events. Most chapters are written from the first person and provide an opportunity for Erdrich to play with tone and voice that depends on the character. For example, Lipsha Morrissey, a teenager growing up in the eighties, utilizes videogames for metaphors. The death of a veteran returning from Vietnam is treated as an accident or a suicide depending on the author. The technique, if a bit less experimental even if simultaneously more grand, is similar to Faulkner's The Sound and the Fury.

By revisiting events, and even placing some events in non-chronological order, Erdrich's stories accumulate momentum and power as the novel progresses. As readers, we are aware that we are privy to only moments in a larger story that takes place off screen. In ways Love Medicine is like a collection of close photographs of a single skyscraper - a bird's nest on a ledge, an American flag, the sun reflecting off a window - without ever revealing the whole object. We recognize the whole from the aggregate because of our familiarity with both, and in the case of Love Medicine the whole is life from family.

Perhaps the single most impressive aspect of Love Medicine is Erdrich's prose. Her writing is just this side of magical realism, and while certain characters may believe in magic, Lipsha Morrissey believes he has a healing touch, because these very same characters are telling the story we are welcomed to doubt their powers. However, Erdrich's writing is often imbued with an effervescent mysticism. In the chapter "The Island" narrated by Lulu Nanapush, Lulu leaves her home to live in a cave on an island with Moses Pillager, perhaps a more surrealist chapter than the rest of the novel. Upon consummating her romance with Moses, Lulu, who would go on to father many children with many fathers, informs the reader: "I want to grind men's bones to drink in my night tea...I want to be their food, their harmful drink, to taste men like stilled jam at the back of my tongue." These moments of surrealism are equally matched by a prose that seems permeable and effervescent, as if the words can barely capture the events before us.

Erdrich is responsible for populating her novel with a myriad of characters whose lives bend and bounce off one another, and while we may not condone the actions of every one of them, there is a clear understanding that their actions rise from a shared pain. Because these characters are connected through a webwork of relations, their loneliness seems that much tragic.

4-0 out of 5 stars Love Medicine Review
This was one of the most relatable books that I have ever read. It has lots of crazy family issues. Each chapter was told from a different person's perspective. At first I thought it was a bit strange, but I ended up enjoying it. The short stories of each person relate to each other and tell a bigger story. It's amazing how people involved in the same event can remember something so differently.

1-0 out of 5 stars couldn't finish this book
After about 75 pages into this book, I was done. I've decided I'm not a fan of lyrical writing or short stories with no clear connection or flow between the chapters. Too disjoint for me, and some of the characters were too bizarre for me. This is my first attempt to read this author's work: I would be hesitant to try any of her other novels. This will go in the "donate" pile for my local used book store.

... Read more

14. Love Medicine : A Novel (Perennial Classics)
by Louise Erdrich
Paperback: 400 Pages (2005-08-01)
list price: US$13.95 -- used & new: US$7.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B000ENWIKS
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (4)

2-0 out of 5 stars An unfortunate book
First off, let me say that I might have liked this book better if I had not read other books by this same author. The problem is that, to me, they all seem the same. I see plot elements reused from title to title, and within the story itself. Even if I hadn't read other books from this author, I would be hard pressed to give this a positive review. Like others here have mentioned, it jumps around so much, it almost makes you nauseated, and not just from character to character, the story is not even written with anything even vaguely resembling chronological order. It jumps back forth from decade to decade in an almost humorous manner. Also, you'll find yourself flipping to the family tree at the beginning of the book constantly in a likely futile attempt to figure out how all the seemingly random characters tie together.

In conclusion, the potential value of this story and the morals that it is meant to portray are largely lost in its random construction and nearly cliche plot elements.

1-0 out of 5 stars I can't rate it....
I never got this text!I ordered four books, this one has yet to be delivered to me.I have sent emails to the seller and have never gotten a response, same thing when I emailed Amazon.I did check this book out of the library to read for a class...it is an excellent Novel-I highly recommend it, just not from this seller.

5-0 out of 5 stars One of the best writers in American History
Simply fantastic.It is a shame though, that she is not included in the canon of literary geniuses of American history.Her stories read beautifully and her artistic ability to paint a picture with words is amazing.Read all her books, they are all wonderful.

5-0 out of 5 stars Her first novel? You've got to be kidding me!
It just does not seem fair that someone could claim this work as her first novel. It is so intricately woven, and the multiple narratives are so expertly spoken, that I find it very difficult to believe it came from a novice.
At this point, I have read approximately 15 Native American works/novels, including Momaday, Silko, Welch, Dorris, Alexie and Sa--and I think I must say that Erdrich's "Love Medicine" tops them all. It is well thought out...almost too well thought out.
It is funny and disturbing intermittently, but most of all, it is about families, rivals, and life. It is about connections.
Forget the fact that it is a "Native American Novel" and concern yourself only with the fact that it is one of the most engaging stories in contemporary fiction.
Warning: one must be on one's toes while reading this! Snooze for two paragraphs and you may be sorry. Much like Toni Morrison, Louise Erdrich is a very deliberate writer...everything is written for a reason and you had best believe that every little detail is connected to something. This is a book you will insist upon reading at least twice.
P.S. Beware! There are two different versions of this novel out there...one of which is missing four valuable chapters. Before buying or borrowing, make sure your table of contents has "The Island," "Resurrection," "The Tomahawk Factory," and "Lyman's Luck." -Having read the more complete version of "Love Medicine," I absolutely cannot fathom doing without these four chapters. Avoid depriving yourself if possible. ... Read more

15. Louise Erdrich's Love Medicine: A Casebook (Casebooks in Criticism)
Paperback: 256 Pages (1999-11-11)
list price: US$50.00 -- used & new: US$8.97
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0195127226
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Louise Erdrich's first novel, Love Medicine, came out in 1984 to instant and international acclaim. A short story cycle narrated by a variety of different characters, the book chronicles the intertwined histories of Chippewa and mixed-blood families in North Dakota over half a century, laying bare the the ordeals and joys of twentieth-century Native American life and evoking the continued relevance of homeland, humor, and storytelling to indigenous survival. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars A scholarly compendium of literary criticism
Love Medicine was Louise Erdrich's debut novel and won a National Book Critics Circle Award when it was published in 1984. A short story cycle narrated by a variety of different characters, Love Medicine chronicles the intertwined histories of Chippewa and mixed-blood families in North Dakota spanning more than fifty years and laying bare the ordeals and joys of twentieth-century Native American life. Erdrich successfully and poignantly evoked the continued relevance of homeland, humor, and storytelling with the issues of indigenous survival in the modern era. Highly recommended reading for students of contemporary Native American experience in general, and the writings of Louise Erdrich in particular, Louise Erdrich's Love Medicine: A Casebook is a scholarly compendium of literary criticism and analytical essays organized around the subjects of "Contexts: History, Culture, and Storytelling"; "Mixed Identities and Multiple Narratives"; Individual and Cultural Survival: Humor and Homecoming"; and Reading Self/Reading Others". ... Read more

16. The Beet Queen: A Novel (P.S.)
by Louise Erdrich
Paperback: 368 Pages (2006-09-01)
list price: US$14.99 -- used & new: US$4.58
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060835273
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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On a spring morning in 1932, young Karl and Mary Adare arrive by boxcar in Argus, North Dakota. After being orphaned in a most peculiar way, they seek refuge in the butcher shop of their aunt Fritzie and her husband, Pete; ordinary Mary, who will cause a miracle, and seductive Karl, who lacks his sister's gift for survival, embark upon an exhilarating life-journey crowded with colorful, unforgettable characters and marked by the extraordinary magic of natural events.

The bestselling, award-winning author of The Painted Drum, Louise Erdrich dazzles in this vibrant and heartfelt tale of abandonment and sexual obsession, jealousy and unstinting love that explores with empathy, humor, and power the eternal mystery of the human condition.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (26)

2-0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
I purchased this book for $2 at a used bookstore.Initially I enjoyed the quirky characters but they all turned out to be such losers.There were also too many characters and the story did not flow so I stopped reading it about 2/3 of the way through.This book will not enter my collection.It will go into my bag for donations. Maybe someone else will enjoy it.The Beet Queen: A Novel (P.S.)

4-0 out of 5 stars Inter-generational Saga of Women from the Dakota Plains
This is an interesting multi-generational saga of women and their relationships.It takes place
somewhere in the Dakota plains.The characterizations are beautifully described and there are
wonderful portrayals of the naturalness and reality of the bizarre and unbelievable in true, every
day life.

Though somewhat in the genre of Erdich's ex-husband's novel, A Yellow Raft in Blue Water: A Novel, 'The Beet Queen lacks the depth and human of Dorris's book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Complex or as simple as you make it
The beginning of this book takes off like a rocket. It's powerful and serves as one huge hook for the reader, who moves along with the characters as they develop into adults (and depending on the character, not very nice adults), sometimes skipping chunks of time. It's a character-driven story, but the psychological thread that run through the book give s simple narrative a lot of meat if you're paying attention. This was my first Erdrich book, and I'm about to start another, Plague of Doves. I hope it is just as good.

3-0 out of 5 stars A book about nothing
Of the series of dry, psychological books my aunt has lended me over the summer-The Beet Queen had to be my favorite so far of mine. I wish I could sum up these types of books better, where there are just people described through they're life-slightly off, outthere but more or less normal chacters. None really jump off the page or do anything out of this world. They're all dysfunctional. One thing I am sure...these kind of books are not my cup of tea. There was TOTALLY something missing with Karl...I had faith that this would be a good charcter...I was very wrong. Random events and people described in a book, whatever.

2-0 out of 5 stars A disappointing read
I chose this book for my book club because I had read Erdrich's other novel, The Master Butcher's Singing Club, which was flawed, but still great reading.I was so disappointed in this novel.It did not meet my expectations.I expected the wise and wonderful writing I encountered in The Master Butcher's Singing Club, but was given plot twists that were just plain silly.The author ruined her opporunity to say something profound with Sita's death by throwing in dead body humor a la "Weekend at Bernie's."Although for the most part I found her characters compelling, I felt like this book had very little to say. I am less inclined to try her other novels after reading this one. ... Read more

17. The Game of Silence
by Louise Erdrich
Paperback: 288 Pages (2006-06-01)
list price: US$6.99 -- used & new: US$2.32
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0064410293
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Her name is Omakayas, or Little Frog, because her first step was a hop, and she lives on an island in Lake Superior. One day in 1850, Omakayas′s island is visited by a group of mysterious people. From them, she learns that the chimookomanag, or white people, want Omakayas and her people to leave their island and move farther west.

That day, Omakayas realizes that something so valuable, so important that she never knew she had it in the first place, could be in danger: Her way of life. Her home.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (11)

4-0 out of 5 stars the game of silence
The pages were very clean. I was a little disappointed there were several stickers that didn't easily come off on the front cover.

5-0 out of 5 stars Louise Erdrich is great!
I first learned of Louise Erdrich and THE BIRCHBARK HOUSE from an article in one of my parenting magazines. The book was compared to those of the Little House series, which I LOVE, so I quickly bought the book and read it. Its sequel, THE GAME OF SILENCE, is just as good if not better.

The story picks up three years after the small pox winter of 1847 (in THE BIRCHBARK HOUSE). Omakayas's family and the rest of their Ojibwe tribe take in a tribe of friends and family members who have been displaced by the chimookomanag, or white men. This is just one of the many changes that Omakayas and her family will have to endure in this book. Word has reached the tribe that the white settlers are making all Native Americans move west even though a treaty concerning the land was put in place years before. Omakayas has also begun having important dreams and been feeling a strong push to go into the forest with a coal-blackened face for a four-day fast with the hope that the spirits will speak to her and give her guidance...something that she is not looking forward to doing.

What I love about THE GAME OF SILENCE and Louise Erdrich's writing is that reading historical fiction can be enjoyable. The reader comes away from the book with a greater understanding of the way of life, hardships, and traditions of this Ojibwe tribe. Plus, you can't help but fall in love with Omakayas and her family, even her bothersome brother, Pinch. I can't wait to start the next book in the series, THE PORCUPINE YEAR.

5-0 out of 5 stars A way of life
Omakakeyens. A young girl's name. A name that is a signpost that you are entering a way of life far from your own. Her days are filled with her family, their way of life within the pattern of the seasons, a relationship to all living and growing things around them.

This is the 2nd of what is now 3 books. First, Birchbark House where we first read of Omakakeyens, I think about 6 or 7 years old, and her Ojibwa family at the turn of the century. This book follows as she grows up in northern Minnesota, with the just released Porcupine Years as the story continues. They are filled with love and humor; you can put them down but you don't want to. I have all three to give my granddaughter, but not until I've read them.

Louise Erdrich gives sentences, paragraphs, that take my breath away. Her books are true treasures, deserving of all the awards they have received.

4-0 out of 5 stars Another Erdrich Novel for Young Adults
The Game of Silence by Louise Erdrich (HarperCollins, 2005); Where the Great Hawk Flies by Liza Ketchum (Clarion Books/Houghton-Mifflin, 2005).

Considering the depiction of Native Americans in books, so much has changed since I was the age of our twelve-year-old daughter.

In several new books for young readers, the narrative vantage point has been very decisively shifted to place native characters in the point-of-view position, in the center of events instead of serving as "colorful" parts of the scenery. I've recently read aloud to our daughter Lillian two new young adultnovels with Native American themes, Louise Erdrich's The Game of Silence (HarperCollins, 2005) and Liza Ketchum's Where the Great Hawk Flies (Clarion/Houghton-Mifflin, 2005).

At about Lillian's age I read James Fenimore Cooper's The Last of the Mohicans, and I strongly recall the ache I felt in response to Cooper's elegiac, grandly romantic evocation of the "noble" Chingachgook, who appeared to be in Cooper's view inseparable from the strange and sublime new American landscape. As an outdoorsy suburban Boy Scout, I couldn't help but see woodsman and trapper Natty Bumppo as an exemplary white ambassador to the Indians.

Along with Cooper's portrayal of close companionship between an immigrant frontiersman and aboriginal chieftain, I imbibed from that book a desolate, lump-in-the-throat sense of traditional Indians as an endangered species, remnants of a society too fragile to withstand the onslaught of the Europeans' well-armed civilizing force.

In the popular media, depictions of Native Americans continue to wobble or careen between positive (dignified, sensitive, stoic, ecological) and negative (brutal, aloof, lethal, voracious for alcohol), yet in contemporary literature for children and young adults, the native characters (as is also true of African Americans) are now usually portrayed in far more complimentary ways. While in all earnestness, some authors create stories that seem too didactic in seeking to compensate for the stereotypes of the past, these new books of Erdrich and Ketchum offer writing for younger readers that is enjoyable as well as challenging, and historically complex.

Erdrich is the author of nine novels for adults, two collections of essays, and three collections of poetry along with two children's books and a previous young adult novel, The Birchbark House (nominated for a National Book Award in 1999), to which the new novel The Game of Silence is a sequel.

It's not easy to summarize the differences between the volcanically talented Erdrich's books for adults and those for younger readers. The former are more erotic and more violent, with a fabulous flexibility about conventional definitions of "realism," and an intensely metamorphic use of language, with surges of imagery born in dreams and hallucinations. Yet in other respects Erdrich's way of crossing the page is unmistakable, in any genre.

As Lillian pointed out when I asked her about what makes a good young adult novel, the most obvious difference is that the narrator -- the active, witnessing consciousness of a story's events -- is usually a child or teenager. The tenor and tempo of the narrator's voice is therefore different, and in a successful young adult novel the voice is convincing, evocative and flushed with personality, not an adult's idea of how younger people sound.

Erdrich's young adultbooks are never simplistic as they explore tremendously difficult experiences, including European-borne epidemics, which decimated native communities throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth century. It's certainly noteworthy that when writing for younger readers Erdrich never resorts to a"special" tone or style, like certain adults who adopt condescending mannerisms when talking to kids. The Birchbark House and The Game of Silence are as serious in scope and as beautifully written as any reader of Erdrich's adult books would hope.

As with its predecessor, the setting of The Game of Silence is a mid-nineteenth-century Ojibwe community on an island in the lake Gitchi-Igaming, eventually known as Lake Superior. In both books, the main character is Omakayas (or Little Frog, "because her first step is a hop"), who is idiosyncratic and multi-dimensional, like classic literary girls such as Brink's Caddie Woodlawn, Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables, Wilder's Laura and Mary, Dorothy Canfield Fisher's Betsy, and Alcott's March sisters in Little Women.

A substantial pleasure in Erdrich's Omakayas books is their portrayal of daily life among the Ojibwe, who are related in language and in their seasonal subsistence-cycle (summertime agriculture, autumn fishing and gathering, wintertime deer hunting, and spring maple-sugaring) to the Abenaki people of "Wabaniak" or northern New England and Quebec, our own region. While Omakayas and her family are beginning to see the ripple effects of changes in the east, for instance in the arrival of native refugees fleeing colonial seizure of their traditional homelands and the horrific diseases that precede the settlers themselves, readers are given at least a glimpse of the complicated societies that existed prior to the coming of Europeans.

Even more so than in The Birchbark House, in The Game of Silence Erdrich incorporates Ojibwe words and phrases, deftly translating them within her English sentences and also including a wonderful glossary that also can be read through for its own delights. As described in another of her recent books, Books and Islands in Ojibwe Country (National Geographic Directions, 2003), Erdrich has been painstakingly learning her ancestral language, and the steady presence of another language in The Game of Silence changes the sound, the texture, and the perspective of the story.

Another ingredient in classic literature for younger readers is illustrations, and like The Birchbark House, The Game of Silence features Erdrich's lovely pencil drawings, accompanying her image-rich prose as a visual counterpoint.

5-0 out of 5 stars More Please!
the continuing saga of omakayas and her family draws you in and keeps you close.Several of my 5th graders read the book together and immediately asked to read the sequel. When told that it hadn't yet been published, they were dashed, and anxoius for its release.I find it poetic and beautiful, and they are hooked by the story. A teacher's dream... ... Read more

18. Tales of Burning Love: A Novel
by Louise Erdrich
Paperback: 464 Pages (1997-04-23)
list price: US$14.00 -- used & new: US$5.81
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060928360
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

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In her boldest and most darkly humorous novel yet, award-winning, critically acclaimed and bestselling novelist Louise Erdrich tells the intimate and powerful stories of five Great Plains women whose lives are connected through one man.

Stranded in a North Dakota blizzard, Jack Mauser's former wives huddle for warmth and pass the endless night by remembering the stories of how each came to love, marry and ultimately move beyond Jack. At times painful, at times heartbreaking and often times comic, their tales become the adhesive that holds them together in their love for Jack and in their lives as women.

Erdrich, with her characteristic powers of observation and luminescent prose, brings these women's unforgettable stories to life with astonishing candor and warmth. Filled with keen perceptions about the apparatus for survival, the force of passion and the necessity of hope, Tales of Burning Love is a tour de force from one of the most formidable American writers at work today. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (20)

5-0 out of 5 stars Beautiful writer
It's intersting to read the range of opionions about this book, even among Erdrich fans.I am a big fan.She is one of my favorite writers.Although I have put down a couple of her books, and finished one that I didn't especially like,I think this is right up there among the best.

She is a master of the language and characterization.These characters are believeable, 3-dimensional people.I love the way she lays the words on the page.There are also some very amusing situations.

4-0 out of 5 stars a lot of psychology there - a very good read
"Tales of Burning Love": what a cunning, deceitful, yet revealing title... I was long waiting to lay my hand on something by Louise Erdrich and this is the first of her novels I have read. I figured out that this is not considered the best one of her works, but I actually liked it quite a lot.

The plot is set in or around Fargo, North Dakota (with occasional changes of setting) - this already made the novel interesting, as my mental image of Fargo is that from the Cohen brothers' "Fargo" (and Erdrich's descriptions fit very well what has already been in my head). The bracket character is Jack Mauser, a part-Native American man, as masculine as a man can be; and as fatally attractive to women. Married five times, Jack has a talent to get involved in risky or suspicious business schemes and when he dies because of one, his four former wives meet at his funeral. On the way back, they get caught in a snowstorm in one car (with the mysterious hitchhiker) and there lies the real essence of this novel, for the women take turns telling the stories of their lives and their relationships with Jack. As the stories unravel, the reader gets to know better all four: Eleanor (my favorite character - I could relate to her best), the meticulous and neurotic scientist, doing research at the nunnery, a daughter of a circus acrobat and of a funeral home owner; Candice, a perfectionist, a dentist, who has everything thought out, but surprises herself with unexpected love; Marlis, a would-be artist with no morals; and Dot, a solid, down-to earth accountant. They reveal a lot of tender feelings and intimate details, and each shows her unique personality. How the women so different can be infatuated with one man... It makes me wonder. From their stories, a complex portrait of Jack emerges.

The snowstorms clasp the whole novel, the first one in which Jack loses his first wife, and the one after the funeral. I liked this, as well as the role of the fire in the story. The novel is full of unexpected turns, and when it seems to slow down, something happens to wake the reader up - at the beginning I though I would not like it, but after the first chapter I really got into it. The spiritual aspect mixes with the physical, the feminine with the masculine, so that the whole range of human endeavors is explored. And be really aware, that the title, although it seems to promise a romance novel (as well as the strange, for me not very appealing, cover), is really tricky and can be understood only while reading.

4-0 out of 5 stars Well-executed
This was a pretty good book. I enjoyed the writing - as well as the ridiculous situation that brings four ex-wives of the same man together. The identity of the hitchhiker was even a surprise to me. All in all, it was certainly strange, but I certainly enjoyed reading it. I liked the way the different stories came through each P.O.V

5-0 out of 5 stars Loved it!
I think I found this book by Louise Erdrich possibly the most consistently interesting book in the series, all of which I enjoyed. There's never a dull passage, and honestly the characters are easier to understand, if not always relate to, than a memorable but so "strange" (for lack of a better word) character than Fleur Pillager.I didn't like Jack Mauser one bit, though, but maybe I wasn't supposed to like him. And I'm glad I didn't read the Publisher's Weekly review before reading this, either, considering all the spoilers.

4-0 out of 5 stars Another good book to read
Excellent book, jumps around a bit, but really wonderful. ... Read more

19. The Antelope Wife: A Novel
by Louise Erdrich
Paperback: 240 Pages (1999-04-01)
list price: US$13.00 -- used & new: US$4.68
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060930071
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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The Antelope Wife extends the branches of the families who populate Louise Erdrich's earlier novels, and once again, her unsentimental, unsparing writing captures the Native American sense of despair, magic, and humor. Rooted in myth and set in contemporary Minneapolis, this poetic and haunting story spans a century, at the center of which is a mysterious and graceful woman known as the Antelope Wife. Elusive, silent, and bearing a mystical link to nature, she embodies a complicated quest for love and survival that impacts lives in unpredictable ways. Her tale is an unpredictable ways. Her tale is an unforgettable tapestry of ancestry, fate, harrowing tragedy, and redemption, that seems at once modern and eternal.Amazon.com Review
As Louise Erdrich's magical novel The Antelope Wifeopens, a cavalry soldier pursues a dog with an Ojibwa baby strapped toits back. For days he follows them through "the vast carcass ofthe world west of the Otter Tail River" until finally the dogallows him to approach and handle the child--a girl, not yet weaned,who latches onto his nipples until, miraculously, they begin to givemilk. In another kind of novel, this might be a metaphor. But this isthe fictional world of Louise Erdrich, where myth is woven deeply intothe fabric of everyday life. A famous cake tastes of grief, joy, andthe secret ingredient: fear. The tie that binds the antelope wife toher husband is, literally, the strip of sweetheart calico he used toyoke her hand to his. Legendary characters sew beads into colorfulpatterns, and these patterns become the design of the novel itself.

The Antelope Wife centers on the Roys and the Shawanos, twoclosely related Ojibwa families living in modern-day Gakahbekong, orMinneapolis. Urban Indians of mixed blood, they are "scatteredlike beads off a necklace and put back together in new patterns, newstrings," and Erdrich follows them through two failed marriages,a "kamikaze" wedding, and several tragic deaths. But theplot also loops and circles back, drawing in a 100-year-old murder, aburned Ojibwa village, a lost baby, several dead twins, and anotherbaby nursed on father's milk.

The familiar Erdrich themes are allhere--love, family, history, and the complex ways these forces bothbind and separate the generations, stitching them into patterns ascomplex as beadwork. At least initially, this swirl of characters,narratives, time lines, and connections can take a little getting usedto; several of the story lines do not match up until the book'sconclusion. But in the end, Erdrich's lovely, lyrical languageprevails, and the reader succumbs to the book's own dreamlikelogic. As The Antelope Wife closes, Erdrich steps back toaddress readers directly for the first time, and the moment expandsthe book's elaborate patterns well beyond the confines of itspages. "Who is beading us?" she asks. "Who are you andwho am I, the beader or the bit of colored glass sewn onto the fabricof the earth?... We stand on tiptoe, trying to see over the edge, andonly catch a glimpse of the next bead on the string, and the woman'shand moving, one day, the next, and the needle flashing over thehorizon." -- Mary Park, editor ... Read more

Customer Reviews (16)

1-0 out of 5 stars Not Good
The tale was too esoteric.It was very difficult to follow.I could only last one chapter then I was off to sleep!

5-0 out of 5 stars wonderful craftsmanship
I loved how the plot and characters in this book were so intricately woven together.The book left me totally full with imagery and language, and looking forward to reading more of Erdrich's fiction.(I also loved The Blue Jay's Dance - a non-ficiton work)

4-0 out of 5 stars Not one of her best works!
I am a true fan of Louise Erdrich but I must say this particular book is not my favorite, save it for the last and read ALL of her other books!

2-0 out of 5 stars Oh, Deer Me
I have admired Erdrich's writing in the past---"Tracks" and "The Beet Queen"--so I was looking forward to reading another of her novels.I must say I was disappointed here.Though Erdrich, like N. Scott Momaday, has a highly poetical style and her pages are filled with beautiful images (which is certainly a positive characteristic), a novel after all needs to have a strong story line or a point.Beautiful sentences and poetic expressions do not make a story, even if spiced with magical realism, sex, recipes, and colorful beads.As a literary testimony to a section of Native American experience, THE ANTELOPE WIFE has great merit.But as a novel, in the company of all the novels of the world, I felt that in this case, Erdrich tried to stretch out her career and write the next book though her heart was not in it.Perhaps it was a bad time in her life.The novel felt to me as one written by a person "trying to be literary".She writes of the mixed and intertwined fates of all those people of the Anishinabe world---Indians, whites, men, women, strong and weak---like beads on a string. The Indians come out holding the short stick.Within this framework, individuals play out their fates, violence and love intermingling with mystery and mundane existence.The characters somehow do not rise above their initial characterizations.The women are stronger than the men for the most part: they endure while the men often fall into alcohol and despair.The author writes in graceful style, but not much depth.I felt---at the risk of sounding snotty---that THE ANTELOPE WIFE belongs more in the category of `chick-lit' than in `American literature'.I once read part of a novel by Amy Tan, but could not finish for similar reasons.I did read THE ANTELOPE WIFE in its entirety, because Erdrich's writing differs favorably from most other authors', but I grew tired of the soap opera quality of this story.

3-0 out of 5 stars Broken Whiteheart
This is only the second book by Ms. Erdrich that I have read and the first was a collaberation with Michael Dorris. For me, this book came off as very bizarre (a man breastfeeding a baby) and depressing (betrayal, loneliness and death). But the thin line between love and hate running through the book is compelling. And I enjoy how Louise writes in the POV or about particular characters. She did it in Crown of Columbus and she does it here. I find myself "becoming" her characters as I read each chapter. And the use of the Okijbwa language peaks my curiosity into the culture and lifestyle of these people. I can't rave about the novel because it was so unsettling. But I did enjoy it. She is a talented writer and I can't wait to read her other books. ... Read more

20. Books and Islands in Ojibwe Country: Traveling Through the Land of my Ancestors (Literary Travel)
by Louise Erdrich
Paperback: 160 Pages (2006-06-20)
list price: US$10.95 -- used & new: US$8.75
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B003IWYKXA
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For more than twenty years Louise Erdrich has dazzled readers with the intricately wrought, deeply poetic novels which have won her a place among today's finest writers. Her nonfiction is equally eloquent, and this lovely memoir offers a vivid glimpse of the landscape, the people, and the long tradition of storytelling that give her work its magical, elemental force.

In a small boat like those her Native American ancestors have used for countless generations, she travels to Ojibwe home ground, the islands of Lake of the Woods in southern Ontario. Her only companions are her new baby and the baby's father, an Ojibwe spiritual leader, on a pilgrimage to the sacred rock paintings their people have venerated for centuries as mystical "teaching and dream guides," and where even today Ojibwe leave offerings of tobacco in token of their power. With these paintings as backdrop, Erdrich summons to life the Ojibwe's spirits and songs, their language and sorrows, and the tales that are in their blood, echoing through her own family's very contemporary American lives and shaping her vision of the wider world. Thoughtful, moving, and wonderfully well observed, her meditation evokes ancient wisdom, modern ways, and the universal human concerns we all share.

"This book is a treasure and a delight."—Minneapolis Star Tribune ... Read more

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