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The Bluejay's Dance

An exhilarating and enchanting meditation on becoming a mother from one of America's most acclaimed writers, and winner of the National Book Award for Fiction, 2012. `She is a winter-spring baby, and all day there is just her, me, snow and the birds outside.'A mother for all seasons, Erdrich tracks the end of her pregnancy into the dazzling light of childbirth and beyond into her baby's infancy, keeping a weather-eye on Nature outside her window and inside her body, gauging its lessons and constraints. She spills over with the intense feeling a baby carries into being as its gift to its mother.But her book is no mystical trip; Erdrich is umbilically attached to the earth, and to common sense. All prospective and seasoned parents will cherish her report from the frontline, for she never lectures, she simply strives to record exactly - in language both supple and ripe. Moving and memorable, neither handbook nor tract, here, for perhaps the first time, is mothering converted into writing without fakery.
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About the Author

Louise Erdrich is one of the most gifted, prolific, and challenging of American novelists. Her fiction reflects aspects of her mixed heritage: German through her father, and French and Ojibwa through her mother. She is the author of many novels, the first of which, "Love Medicine", won the National Book Critics Circle Award and the last of which, "The Round House", won the National Book Award for Fiction in 2012. She lives in Minnesota.


Erdrich, who has published poetry and critically acclaimed novels (Love Medicine, The Beet Queen), here describes her experience with giving birth and the joyful year of mothering that follows. The baby whose arrival she chronicles is the youngest of her three daughters but is also a composite of the biological children among the family's six. A keen observer of nature, Erdrich also movingly evokes wild-animal life and the seasonal changes that take place outside the secluded New Hampshire home of Erdrich and her husband, writer Michael Dorris. Although her mystical side is evident in her descriptions of the natural world and in her account of the strong bond she formed with her new baby, she also looks at life with refreshing common sense. She dismisses the ``pseudo spiritual advice'' that refers to intense labor pain as ``discomfort'' and admits to occasionally feeling resentment at her baby's screams. Erdrich lightens her prose with several recipes that she and her husband prepare together, as well as a menu for an all-licorice dinner. An enchanting, lyrical rendering of a ``mother's vision.'' (Apr.)

Ensconced in her farmhouse in rural New Hampshire and the cottage across the road where she writes, embraced by her devoted writer husband, Michael Dorris, and their several children, Erdrich (The Bingo Palace, LJ 1/94) is pregnant with her third daughter. She is attuned to the rhythms of nature, the movements of small animals, and the quickening of the baby inside her; in this journal she records impressionistically the birth and first seasons of her newborn's life. Her even, trusting prose is punctuated by dazzling observations of man, nature, and child: the solace she takes in burying her face into her husband's luxuriant hair while pushing her baby; the ecstatic tossing of trees in the wind, a landscape so different from her native North Dakota; the ``sense of oceanic oneness'' that only breastfeeding brings. Erdrich the writer and mother fuse seamlessly in this lyrical affirmation of generation; containing recipes prepared by Dorris, it is sure to be popular in all libraries.-Amy Boaz, ``Library Journal''

`The language in this book is stunning, elastic, often full of silence ... Erdrich is forthright and tough-minded in her intentions, generous in her speculations and courageous in her vulnerability before her readers. 'The Blue Jay's Dance' is a book that breaks ground.' Boston Globe `A refreshing breath of air for new parents struggling to make sense of the chaos into which they've been thrown ... an astonishingly accurate and sensuous evocation of an indescribable experience. For ever more mothers, the often painful decision to work is an emotional as well as a financial necessity, a blue jay's dance. In this joyful yet unsentimental book, Erdrich beautifully captures the daunting trials and immense rewards of bringing a child into this world.' Miami Herald

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