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Tracks
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A New York Times Bestseller, 'Tracks' is Louise Erdrich's masterpiece -- a story for our times, narrated by a uniquely twentieth century figure. / A stunning portrayal of American Indian life at the turn of the 20th century which earned rave international reviews. / Erdrich's latest novel, 'The Master Butcher's Singing Club', was a Top Ten bestseller in America. / Louise Erdrich is to Native Americans what Toni Morrison is to African-Americans -- a lucid, perceptive and most of all knowledgeable chronicler. / Competition: Anne Tyler, Kate Atkinson, Jane Smiley, Rose Tremain, Barbara Kingsolver

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 six previous 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 literary reputation, already formidable after Love Medicine and The Beet Queen , will be enhanced with this beautifully fashioned, powerful novel. Some of the characters in the previous books are here, but with a new dimension that renders this story the most riveting of the three, again set in North Dakota in the early 1900s. The narrative voice alternates between Nanapush, a wise old man of the Chippewa tribe, and Pauline, who abandons her Indian heritage in an obsessive conversion to Christianity. Both tell the story of Fleur Pillager, a magnificent woman who is rumored to be a witch, and whose life mirrors both the conflicts within the Indian community banded together in the face of an encroachingy white world, and the eventual supremacy of that world over their culture. Rescued by Nanapush after her family dies in an epidemic, and already rumored to have infuence over men's lives, Fleur ironically is the victim of gang rape when she leaves the reservation to work in the nearby town of Argus. Nanapush gives his name to Fleur's daughter Lulu, counsels Eli who loves and woos Fleur, and watches the betrayal of her pride and power. Pauline, who becomes a nun dedicated to martyrdom, has a role in hastening Fleur's destruction. Erdrich's writing is as poetic and strikingly imaged as before, and even more crystalline. She seamlessly interweaves scenes of everyday Indian life and the magical and supernatural world of their legends and beliefs. While the native American culture may be exotic to our understanding, the characters are universally human in their emotions. This is a stunning story about people caught in the grip of passion and in the inexorable flow of history. 100,000 copy first printing; $200,000 ad/promo; BOMC and QPBC selections. (September)

'What gives this novel its resonance is Erdrich's extraordinary ability to create not an approximation of the past but something that seems like a living, breathing evocation of it. It is a book of powerful, poetic images, in which myth and reality elide!the novel leaves behind an indelible impression.' Guardian 'Erdrich may soon come to be recognised as a writer possessed of greatness!Nanapush is a creation of the highest imaginative calibre.' The Times Literary Supplement 'There is no one else writing the kind of novel that Louise Erdrich does. She depicts the rural poor, and the heritage and present of the dwindling American Indians with an audacity and passion that continually surprise.' New Statesman 'The author captures the passions, fears, myths and doom of a living people, and she does so with an ease that leaves the reader breathless.' New Yorker 'Louise Erdrich's gift for vivid descriptive writing is everywhere in evidence, and many of the episodes are almost blinding in their hallucinatory brilliance' New York Review of Books 'artfully sifts the miraculous through the mundane' New York Times Book Review 'lapidary, poetic prose!dazzling storytelling powers!powerful scenes of dreamlike intensity.' New York Times 'She draws her people with all the compassion and intelligence of an angel!There is rich music in it, lucid phrasing, line by line.' Washington Times 'Fleur Pillager is one of the most haunting presences in contemporary literature!Tracks may be the story of our time.' Los Angeles Times

In her splendid new work, Erdrich retrieves characters from her first novel, Love Medicine , to depict the escalating conflict between two Chippewa families, a conflict begun when hapless Eli Kashpawwho has passionately pursued the fiery, elemental Fleur Pillageris made to betray her with young Sophie Morrissey through the magic of the vengeful Pauline. That simple summary belies the richness and complexity of the tale, told in turn to Fleur's estranged daughter by her ``grandfather,'' the wily Nanapush, and by Pauline, a woman of mixed blood and mixed beliefs soon to become the obsessive Sister Leopolda. As the community is eroded from withoutby white man's venalityand from within, even Fleur must realize that ``power goes under and gutters out.'' Not so for Erdrich, whose prose is as sharp, glittering, and to the point as cut glass. Highly recommended. Barbara Hoffert, ``Library Journal''

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