Reviews in 200 Words

The Plague of Doves by Louise Erdrich

In Novel on June 21, 2009 at 4:20 am

This story is full of gems that resonate like fortune cookies. One-liners that need to be read three or four times. Do not live as though you’ll be around for ten thousand years. Pluto, North Dakota is a border town: just off the reservation. The place is a blur: Ojibwe and whites marry, generations mix, things are hard to define. When an entire family is murdered in 1911, it’s difficult to know who to blame or how to explain it. A lynch mob blames the Indians. The town barely moves on, even decades later. The night lives, The words jammed together until the men and the horses made one sound, a heavy confusion of breath and stomping blood. The unknown is all they know—is all anyone knows. Erdrich gives characters that are bizarre—almost unbelievable. Evelina Harp is a half-breed who falls in love with her freakishly large nun-teacher. Evelina’s grandfather, Mooshum—a survivor of the lynch mob—tells stories, but rarely in order and rarely from start to finish. This novel, full of side-stories and intertwined lives, is harsh and rests largely on killing, but proves—among other things—that history works itself out in the living.

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