Saturday, May 10, 2008

Louise ERDRICH ... The Plague of Doves (2008)

FOR A TASTE of Native American fiction at its best, nothing comes closer to the novels of Louise Erdrich. With her rich, evocative prose and vibrantly imagined characters set against the magic, religious and tribal customs of Native American life, her novels take you to places you have never been before. If you are new to Erdrich’s ouvre, read Love Medicine (1984), Beet Queen (1986), The Bingo Palace (1994), The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse (2001) and the The Master Butchers Singing Club (2003). Love Medicine was for many readers their introduction to Native American characters in fiction. In her new novel which is more like a collection of linked stories, The Plague of Doves (HarperCollins, 2008), Erdrich revisits this same rich fictional terrain, dripping the landscape with lush characters and wonderful storytelling; this time the theme is, how an unsolved crime reverberates through several generations, how the past and the present converge, and how life and death embrace each other. The past can never be buried; it has a way of clawing its way out of the earth of time to haunt us.

ERDRICH Louise [1954-] Novelist, poet. Born Karen Louise Erdrich in Little Falls, Minnesota, U.S. Novels The Plague of Doves (2008); The Painted Drum (2005); Four Souls (2004); The Master Butchers Singing Club (2003: a National Book Award Finalist); The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse (2001: shortlisted for the 2001 National Book Award); The Antelope Wife (1998); Tales of Burning Love (1996); The Bingo Palace (1994); The Crown of Columbus (with Michael Dorris) (1991); Tracks (1988); The Beet Queen (1986); Love Medicine (1984: winner of the 1984 National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction and the Sue Kaufman Prize for Best First Fiction) Poetry Original Fire: New and Selected Poems (2003); Baptism of Desire (1989); Jacklight (1984); Imagination (1981) Nonfiction Books and Islands in Ojibwe Country (2003); The Falcon: A Narrative of the Captivity and Adventures of John Tanner (1994); The Broken Cord: A Family’s Ongoing Struggle with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (with Michael Dorris) (1989: winner of the 1989 National Book Critics Circle Award for General Nonfiction) Memoir The Bluejay’s Dance: A Birth Year (1995) Travel Essays Route Two (with Michael Dorris) (1990) Children’s The Game of Silence (2005); The Range Eternal (with illustrations by Stephen T. Johnson and Lou Fancher) (2002); The Birchbark House (1999: winner of the 2000 Willa Award for Young Adult Fiction); Grandmother’s Pigeon (with illustrations by Jim LaMarche) (1996)

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