Louise Erdrich is the author of twelve novels as well as volumes of poetry, children's books, and a memoir of early motherhood. Her debut novel, Love Medicine, won the National Book Critics Circle Award. The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse was a finalist for the National Book Award. Her most recent novel, The Plague of Doves was a New York Times bestseller. Louise Erdrich lives in Minnesota with her daughters and is the owner of Birchbark Books, a small independent bookstore.
Author photo © Paul Emmell
Pulitzer Prize-winning Louise Erdrich’s The Sentence is an utterly absorbing, utterly unique novel that takes in potent issues of our time - Covid, BLM, the suppression and erasure of indigenous cultures - with astounding invention, black humour and humanity. It really is kaleidoscopic, with “The Sentence” of the title having many meanings. Firstly, its main character, Tookie, has served time in jail for her part in getting rid of a body. The motif remerges when Tookie (you can’t help but love this complex, flawed, one-of-a-kind character) later finds herself sentenced to being haunted by a former customer of the Minneapolis bookshop she works in. And then there are sentences formed from words, for this novel is also an affecting tribute to the power of books. Post-incarceration, Tookie has found love and marriage with the former tribal police officer who arrested her, a loving man who’s renowned for his knowledge of tribal traditions and practices. Right after one of her regular customers dies while reading a manuscript she stole from the bookstore, Tookie feels a strange presence that soon escalates from being annoying to putting her in danger. At the same time, the pandemic is escalating too, and protests in the wake of the killing of George Floyd. While researching the mysterious manuscript, and amidst all this uncertainty and very real danger, Tookie comes to profoundly moving realisations about her past, about her loved ones, and about the history and experience of her people: “We’ve endured centuries of being erased and sentenced to live in a replacement culture. So even someone raised strictly in their own tradition gets pulled toward white perspectives”. Bold, complex, funny and moving, this is a richly rewarding, enlightening novel.
One of our Books of the Year 2013. Hailed in the US as a Native American To Kill A Mockingbird and winner of the 2012 US National Book Award, this is a masterclass in compelling, emotional and magical storytelling. After an horrific rape Joe’s mother shuts herself away and even though his father is a tribal judge he is unable to uncover the culprit. Frustrated, Joe sets our with his best friends to find the truth. This literary mystery, full of stunning language will have a lasting impression on any reader. October 2013 Book of the Month. In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion for The Round House a small number of Lovereading members were lucky enough to be invited to review this title - 'Read this book! The Round House is an incredible, rewarding and emotional whirlwind of a read' - Phyl Smithson. Scroll down to read more reviews.
In this stunning and timely novel, Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award-winning author Louise Erdrich creates a wickedly funny ghost story, a tale of passion, of a complex marriage and of a woman's relentless errors. Louise Erdrich's latest novel, The Sentence, asks what we owe to the living, the dead, to the reader and to the book. A small independent bookstore in Minneapolis is haunted from November 2019 to November 2020 by the store's most annoying customer. Flora dies on All Souls' Day, but she simply won't leave the store. Tookie, who has landed a job selling books after years of incarceration that she survived by reading 'with murderous attention,' must solve the mystery of this haunting while at the same time trying to understand all that occurs in Minneapolis during a year of grief, astonishment, isolation and furious reckoning. The Sentence begins on All Souls' Day 2019 and ends on All Souls' Day 2020. Its mystery and proliferating ghost stories during this one year propel a narrative as rich, emotional and profound as anything Louise Erdrich has written.
A grandmother's sudden departure leaves her family with an even more puzzling, and wondrous, surprise in this enchanting story from the National Book Award-winning author-at last back in print Grandmother was a mysterious woman. She could heal with a touch (or with a cup of very bitter tea) or scare off a vicious dog with a look. But when she hitches a ride to Greenland on a passing porpoise, her family is still surprised-and then concerned. The mystery deepens when, among Grandmother's collection of birds' nests, the family discovers a clutch of eggs hatching. Out pop three passenger pigeons-birds of a species long extinct, supposedly. Through the words of a curious grandchild, and Jim LaMarche's evocative artwork, Grandmother's legacy unfolds in these pages in all its peculiarity and charm. Mixing whimsy and gravity with a little science and history, the tale of the family's loss, and marvelous find, summons a world as intriguing as it is perfectly clear-a world animated by Louise Erdrich's storytelling magic, inviting readers young and old to follow Grandmother, and to wonder.
WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE IN FICTION 2021 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER It is 1953. Thomas Wazhushk is the night watchman at the first factory to open near the Turtle Mountain Reservation in rural North Dakota. He is also a prominent Chippewa Council member, trying to understand a new bill that is soon to be put before Congress. The US Government calls it an 'emancipation' bill; but it isn't about freedom - it threatens the rights of Native Americans to their land, their very identity. How can he fight this betrayal? Unlike most of the girls on the reservation, Pixie - 'Patrice' - Paranteau has no desire to wear herself down on a husband and kids. She works at the factory, earning barely enough to support her mother and brother, let alone her alcoholic father who sometimes returns home to bully her for money. But Patrice needs every penny to get if she's ever going to get to Minnesota to find her missing sister Vera. In The Night Watchman multi-award winning author Louise Erdrich weaves together a story of past and future generations, of preservation and progress. She grapples with the worst and best impulses of human nature, illuminating the loves and lives, desires and ambitions of her characters with compassion, wit and intelligence.
The story of a girlhood lived in the glow of a woodstove from one of the country's most distinguished and beloved authors, now back in print At the heart of a home in the Turtle Mountains sits a woodstove. It is where Mama makes her good soup, where she cooks a potato for warming hands on icy mornings, where she heats a stone for warming cold toes at night. It warms the winter nights and keeps Windigo, the ice monster, at bay. On the stove's blue enamel door are raised letters, The Range Eternal, and in the dancing flames through the window below, a child can see pictures: the range of the buffalo, the wolf and the bear, the eagles and herons and cranes: truly, the Range Eternal. In these charmingly illustrated pages, Louise Erdrich tells a story of hearth and home, of memory and imagination, of childhood recaptured in the reflection of a shiny blue woodstove, of the warm heart of family.
'Erdrich is one of the greatest living American writers' Guardian Louise Erdrich, the New York Times bestselling, National Book Award-winning author of LaRose and The Round House, paints a startling portrait of a young woman fighting for her life and her unborn child against oppressive forces that manifest in the wake of a cataclysmic event. The world as we know it is ending. Evolution has reversed itself, affecting every living creature on earth. Science cannot stop the world from running backwards, as woman after woman gives birth to infants that appear to be primitive species of humans. Thirty-two-year-old Cedar Hawk Songmaker, adopted daughter of open-minded Minneapolis liberals, is as disturbed as the rest of America around her. But for Cedar, this change is profound and deeply personal. She is four months pregnant. Cedar feels compelled to find her birth mother, Mary Potts, an Ojibwe living on the reservation, to understand both her and her baby's origins. As Cedar goes back to her own biological beginnings, society around her begins to disintegrate, fueled by a swelling panic about the end of humanity. There are rumors of martial law, of Congress confining pregnant women, of a registry, and rewards for those who turn these wanted women in. It will take all Cedar has to avoid the prying eyes of potential informants and keep her baby safe. A chilling dystopian novel both provocative and prescient, Future Home of the Living God is a startlingly original work from one of our most acclaimed writers: a moving meditation on female agency, self-determination, biology, and natural rights that speaks to the troubling changes of our time.
Late summer in North Dakota, 1999: Landreaux Iron stalks a deer along the edge of the property bordering his own. He shoots with easy confidence but only when he staggers closer does he realise he has killed his neighbour's son. Dusty Ravich, the deceased boy, was best friends with Landreaux's five-year-old son, LaRose. The two families have been close for years and their children played together despite going to different schools. Landreaux is horrified at what he's done; fighting off his longstanding alcoholism, he ensconces himself in a sweat lodge and prays for guidance. And there he discovers an old way of delivering justice for the wrong he's done. The next day he and his wife Emmaline deliver LaRose to the bereaved Ravich parents. Standing on the threshold of the Ravich home, they say, 'Our son will be your son now'. LaRose is quickly absorbed into his new family. Gradually he's allowed visits with his birth family, whose grief for the son and brother they gave away mirrors that of the Raviches. The years pass and LaRose becomes the linchpin that links both families. As the Irons and the Raviches grow ever more entwined, their pain begins to subside. But when a man who nurses a grudge against Landreaux fixates on the idea that there was a cover-up the day Landreaux killed Dusty - and decides to expose this secret - he threatens the fragile peace between the two families...
Winner of the Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction, Chickadee is the first novel of a new arc in the critically acclaimed Birchbark House series by New York Times bestselling author Louise Erdrich. Twin brothers Chickadee and Makoons have done everything together since they were born-until the unthinkable happens and the brothers are separated. Desperate to reunite, both Chickadee and his family must travel across new territories, forge unlikely friendships, and experience both unexpected moments of unbearable heartache as well as pure happiness. And through it all, Chickadee has the strength of his namesake, the chickadee, to carry him on. Chickadee continues the story of one Ojibwe family's journey through one hundred years in America. School Library Journal, in a starred review, proclaimed, Readers will be more than happy to welcome little Chickadee into their hearts. The paperback edition includes additional material, such as an interview with the author and activities.
Her name is Omakayas, or Little Frog, because her first step was a hop, and she lives on an island in Lake Superior. One day in 1850, Omakayas's island is visited by a group of mysterious people. From them, she learns that the chimookomanag, or white people, want Omakayas and her people to leave their island and move farther west. That day, Omakayas realizes that something so valuable, so important that she never knew she had it in the first place, could be in danger: Her way of life. Her home.
Omakayas was a dreamer who did not yet know her limits. When Omakayas is twelve winters old, she and her family set off on a harrowing journey in search of a new home. Pushed to the brink of survival, Omakayas continues to learn from the land and the spirits around her, and she discovers that no matter where she is, or how she is living, she has the one thing she needs to carry her through.
In the spring of 1988, a woman living on a reservation in North Dakota is attacked. Geraldine Coutts is traumatized and reluctant to relive or reveal what happened, either to the police or to her husband, Bazil, and thirteen-year-old son, Joe. While his father, who is a tribal judge, endeavors to wrest justice from a situation that defies his efforts, Joe sets out to get some answers of his own. The quest takes him first to the Round House, a sacred space and place of worship for the Ojibwe. And this is only the beginning. Louise Erdrich's novel embraces tragedy, the comic, a spirit world very much present in the lives of her all-too human characters, and a tale of injustice that is, unfortunately, an authentic reflection of what happens in our own world today.
Omakayas and her family live on the land her people call the Island of the Golden-Breasted Woodpecker. Although the "e;chimookoman,"e; white people, encroach more and more on their land, life continues much as it always has: every summer they build a new birchbark house; every fall they go to ricing camp to harvest and feast; they move to the cedar log house before the first snows arrive; and they celebrate the end of the long, cold winters at maple-sugaring camp. In between, Omakayas fights with her annoying little brother, Pinch; plays with the adorable baby, Neewo; and tries to be grown-up like her big sister, Angeline. But the satisfying rhythms of their life are shattered when a visitor comes to their lodge on winter night, bringing with him an invisible enemy that will change things forever-but that will eventually lead Omakayas to discover her calling.
Louise Erdrich's mesmerizing new novel, her first in almost three years, centers on a compelling mystery. The unsolved murder of a farm family haunts the small, white, off-reservation town of Pluto, North Dakota. The vengeance exacted for this crime and the subsequent distortions of truth transform the lives of Ojibwe living on the nearby reservation and shape the passions of both communities for the next generation. The descendants of Ojibwe and white intermarry, their lives intertwine; only the youngest generation, of mixed blood, remains unaware of the role the past continues to play in their lives. Evelina Harp is a witty, ambitious young girl, part Ojibwe, part white, who is prone to falling hopelessly in love. Mooshum, Evelina's grandfather, is a seductive storyteller, a repository of family and tribal history with an all-too-intimate knowledge of the violent past. Nobody understands the weight of historical injustice better than Judge Antone Bazil Coutts, a thoughtful mixed blood who witnesses the lives of those who appear before him, and whose own love life reflects the entire history of the territory. In distinct and winning voices, Erdrich's narrators unravel the stories of different generations and families in this corner of North Dakota. Bound by love, torn by history, the two communities' collective stories finally come together in a wrenching truth revealed in the novel's final pages.The Plague of Doves is one of the major achievements of Louise Erdrich's considerable oeuvre, a quintessentially American story and the most complex and original of her books.
From the winner of the National Book Award for Fiction, 2012 comes this elegantly crafted novel that explores the strange power that lost children exert on the memories of those they leave behind When Faye Travers is sent to appraise a family estate in a small New Hampshire town and comes across a forgotten set of valuable Native American artefacts, she is not surprised by the discovery. However, she is shocked when she finds a rare drum - particularly because without even touching the instrument she hears its deep resonant sound. Following the discovery, we trace the drum's passage both backwards and forwards in time. We hear the voice of Bernard Shaawano, an Ojibwe, who tells of how his grandfather created the drum after years of mourning his younger daughter's death and how it changes the paths of those who cross it. Through Faye, we experience her anguished relationship with a local sculptor who also mourns the loss of a daughter, and witness the life Faye has made alone with her mother, in the shadow of her sister's death. Erdich poetically captures the intricate, transformative rhythms of human grief that these losses create within her characters with grace, wit, captivating prose and surprising beauty.