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The Plague of Doves
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A beautiful, compelling, utterly original new novel from one of the most important American writers of our time. Pluto, North Dakota, is a town on the verge of extinction. Its unsavory origins -- which lie in white greed -- contain the seeds of its demise. Here, everybody is connected -- by love or friendship, by blood, and, most importantly, by the burden of a shared history. Evelina Harp, a witty, ambitious young girl, part Ojibwe, part white, is growing up on the reservation. She is prone to falling hopelessly in love, most notably with her cousin, Corwin Peace, a misfit with a late-discovered talent for music, and then with her teacher, Sister Maria Anita Buckendorf, a godzilla-like nun whose frank acceptance of herself is irresistible. Mooshum, Evelina's grandfather, is a seductive storyteller, a repository of family and tribal history; listening enraptured to his tales Evelina learns of a horrific crime that has marked both Ojibwe and whites, whose fates have been inextricably bound ever since. Nobody understands the weight of that crime better than Judge Antone Bazil Coutts, a half breed from Pluto, who also suffers from pains in the love department; as a judge on the reservation, he keeps watch over its inhabitants and recounts their lives with compassion and rare insight. In distinct and winning voices, Evelina and Judge Coutts unravel the intertwining stories of their families, their friends, and their lovers, the descendents of both the perpetrators and victims of the historic crime. Louise Erdrich's characteristically graceful prose and sense of the comic and the tragic sweep readers along to the surprising conclusion of this stunning novel, a portrait of the complex allegiances, passions, and drama of a haunting land and its all-too-human people. / Louise Erdrich is one of the most celebrated American writers of her generation and this should be a breakthrough novel for her. / She won the National Book Critics Circle Award for 'Love Medicine', the Chicago Tribune's Heartland Prize for Fiction for 'The Painted Drum' and was a finalist for the National Book Award in Fiction with 'The Last Report On The Miracles At Little No Horse'. / Bravura storytelling by Erdrich who is a master of the art. / Parts of the novel have been excerpted in 'The New Yorker'. / Competition: Toni Morrison, Anne Tyler

About the Author

Louise Erdrich is one of the most gifted, prolific, and challenging of American novelists. Born in 1954 in Minnesota, she grew up mostly in North Dakota, where her parents taught at Bureau of Indian Affairs schools. Her fiction reflects aspects of her mixed heritage: German through her father, and French and Ojibwa through her mother. She is the author of a number of novels for adults, the first of which, 'Love Medicine', won the National Book Critics Circle Award. She lives in Minnesota with her children, who help her run a small independent bookstore called The Birchbark.

Reviews

Erdrich's 13th novel, a multigenerational tour de force of sin, redemption, murder and vengeance, finds its roots in the 1911 slaughter of a farming family near Pluto, N.Dak. The family's infant daughter is spared, and a posse forms, incorrectly blames three Indians and lynches them. One, Mooshum Milk, miraculously survives. Over the next century, descendants of both the hanged men and the lynch mob develop relationships that become deeply entangled, and their disparate stories are held together via principal narrator Evelina, Mooshum Milk's granddaughter, who comes of age on an Indian reservation near Pluto in the 1960s and '70s and forms two fateful adolescent crushes: one on bad-boy schoolmate Corwin Peace and one on a nun. Though Evelina doesn't know it, both are descendants of lynch mob members. The plot splinters as Evelina enrolls in college and finds work at a mental asylum; Corwin spirals into a life of crime; and a long-lost violin (its backstory is another beautiful piece of the mosaic) takes on massive significance. Erdrich plays individual narratives off one another, dropping apparently insignificant clues that build to head-slapping revelations as fates intertwine and the person responsible for the 1911 killing is identified. (May) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

'Louise Erdrich's imaginative freedom has reached its zenith -- "The Plague of Doves" is her dazzling masterpiece' Philip Roth 'A masterly new novel!Writing in prose that combines the magical sleight of hand of Gabriel Garcia Marquez with the earthy, American rhythms of Faulkner, Ms. Erdrich!has written what is arguably her most ambitious--and in many ways, her most deeply affecting--work yet' Michiko Kakutani, New York Times Confirms her reputation as a writer able to combine the apocalyptic with the mundane world whose inhabitants are set loose to roam the heavens in spirit but are ballasted always by their defiantly human bodies.' Observer 'You could read Louise Erdrich's latest book for its wisdom...Or you could read The Plague of Doves for its poetry...in the end, you'll read this book for its stories...The stories told by her characters offer pleasures of language, of humor, of sheer narrative momentum, that shine even in the darkest moments of the book' Boston Globe 'Wholly felt and exquisitely rendered tales of memory and magic...By the novel's end, and in classic Erdrich fashion, every luminous fragment has been assembled into an intricate tapestry that deeply satisfies the mind, the heart, and the spirit' O magazine 'The Plague of Doves is Erdrich's dazzling masterpiece'.' Philip Roth 'A masterly new novel!Writing in prose that combines the magical sleight of hand of Gabriel Garcia Marquez with the earthy, American rhythms of Faulkner, Ms. Erdrich!has written what is arguably her most ambitious--and in many ways, her most deeply affecting--work yet.' Michiko Kakutani, New York Times 'You could read Louise Erdrich's latest book for its wisdom...Or you could read The Plague of Doves for its poetry...in the end, you'll read this book for its stories...The stories told by her characters offer pleasures of language, of humor, of sheer narrative momentum, that shine even in the darkest moments of the book.' Boston Globe 'Wholly felt and exquisitely rendered tales of memory and magic...By the novel's end, and in classic Erdrich fashion, every luminous fragment has been assembled into an intricate tapestry that deeply satisfies the mind, the heart, and the spirit'. O magazine Praise for Louise Erdrich: 'Louise Erdrich is the rarest kind of writer, as compassionate as she is sharp-sighted.' Anne Tyler 'Intricate and beautifully written...Erdrich is a writer who believes that life is change and who is never afraid to let her characters experience it.' Margot Livesey, Boston Sunday Globe, on 'The Painted Drum' 'Intimate and epic, tender and violent...Erdrich manages to reveal the hope and fears, the history and gossip, the public and private myths of an entire community. She writes with immense sympathy, without a trace of moralism, and with a grace that makes the most extreme, even gothic, events plausible and convincing.' Francine Prose, People Magazine, on 'The Master Butchers Singing Club' 'Joyful and miraculous...It is no small feat to create a whole world, people it believably, and then record the histories of those people (one thinks of Faulkner and Garcia Marquez), but Louise Erdrich is more than equal to the task.' San Francisco Chronicle on 'The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse'

Erdrich adds more layers of history to her community centered on an Ojibwe reservation in rural North Dakota, and as her loyal readers understand, she is going to make us work for it. This latest novel (after The Game of Silence, a novel for children) begins with a mysterious killing. As the people of the town of Pluto get the chance to tell their stories, they are attempting to reconcile the tangible with the spiritual, the native with the Eurocentric, and the reason behind the murders is hidden within the struggle. Be it the power of nature, the power of the holy, or the power of one's ancestry, the people that populate these linked tales are at the mercy of unseen forces. Erdrich's stories require our patience, as we are offered bits and scraps that we must somehow arrange in order to get to the sum of their parts. She gives us credit for being smart enough to see the big picture, and the end result is always worth the effort. This work serves to bolster her body of work, and we are fortunate that such a gifted storyteller continues to focus her gaze on this region of the continent. Highly recommended for all fiction collections. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 1/08.]-Susanne Wells, P.L. of Cincinnati & Hamilton Cty. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

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