The plague of doves

Louise Erdrich

Book - 2008

Unaware of a violent event that marked the beginning of her mixed ancestry, ambitious young Evelina Harp, a part-Ojibwe, part-white girl prone to falling hopelessly in love, learns disturbing truths from her gifted storyteller grandfather.

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FICTION/Erdrich, Louise
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1st Floor FICTION/Erdrich, Louise Checked In
Subjects
Published
New York : HarperCollins 2008.
Edition
1st ed
Language
English
Physical Description
311 p.
ISBN
9780060515133
9780060515126
0060515120
Main Author
Louise Erdrich (-)
Review by Booklist Reviews

*Starred Review* "Every so often something shatters like ice and we are in the river of our existence. We are aware." Those are the moments Erdrich captures in this mesmerizing novel set in Pluto, North Dakota, a white town on the edge of an Ojibwe reservation. Founded out of white greed, the town is now dying, deserted by both industry and its young people. Evelina, a girl of mixed Indian and white descent, hears many family stories from her irascible grandfather, Mooshum, who has learned to deal with the deep sorrow in his life by practicing the patient art of ridicule (his sly baiting of the local priest is one of many comic highlights). Evelina also learns about the town's long, bloody history, including the slaughter of a white farm family and the hanging of innocent Native Americans unfairly targeted as the perpetrators of the crime. Over succeeding generations, descendants of both the victims and the lynching party intermarry, creating a tangled history. Throughout Erdrich deploys potent, recurring images—a dance performed to thwart the plague of doves destroying crops, the heartbreaking music of a violin, an athletic nun rounding the bases in her flowing habit—to communicate the complexity and the mystery of human relationships. With both impeccable comic timing and a powerful sense of the tragic, Erdrich continues to illuminate, in highly original style, "the river of our existence." Copyright 2008 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

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. [Page 90]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

Violence in a North Dakota town near an Ojibwe reservation resonates through the generations. With a U.S./Canadian tour; reading group guide. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

Review by Publishers Weekly 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) [Page 36]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

Unaware of a violent event that marked the beginning of her mixed ancestry, ambitious young Evelina Harp, a part-Ojibwe, part-white girl prone to falling hopelessly in love, learns disturbing truths from her gifted storyteller grandfather, while a sentimental judge weighs the legacy of a century-old crime as reflected by his own love life. 100,000 first printing. Reprint.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

Unaware of a violent event that marked the beginning of her mixed ancestry, ambitious young Evelina Harp, a part-Ojibwe, part-white girl prone to falling hopelessly in love, learns disturbing truths from her gifted storyteller grandfather.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

A finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, The Plague of Doves'the first part of a loose trilogy that includes the National Book Award-winning The Round House and LaRose'is a gripping novel about a long-unsolved crime in a small North Dakota town and how, years later, the consequences are still being felt by the community and a nearby Native American reservation.Though generations have passed, the town of Pluto continues to be haunted by the murder of a farm family. Evelina Harp'part Ojibwe, part white'is an ambitious young girl whose grandfather, a repository of family and tribal history, harbors knowledge of the violent past. And Judge Antone Bazil Coutts, who bears witness, understands the weight of historical injustice better than anyone. Through the distinct and winning voices of three unforgettable narrators, the collective stories of two interwoven communities ultimately come together to reveal a final wrenching truth.Bestselling author Louise Erdrich delves into the fraught waters of historical injustice and the impact of secrets kept too long.

Review by Publisher Summary 4

A finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, The Plague of Doves—the first part of a loose trilogy that includes the National Book Award-winning The Round House and LaRose—is a gripping novel about a long-unsolved crime in a small North Dakota town and how, years later, the consequences are still being felt by the community and a nearby Native American reservation.

Though generations have passed, the town of Pluto continues to be haunted by the murder of a farm family. Evelina Harp—part Ojibwe, part white—is an ambitious young girl whose grandfather, a repository of family and tribal history, harbors knowledge of the violent past. And Judge Antone Bazil Coutts, who bears witness, understands the weight of historical injustice better than anyone. Through the distinct and winning voices of three unforgettable narrators, the collective stories of two interwoven communities ultimately come together to reveal a final wrenching truth.

Bestselling author Louise Erdrich delves into the fraught waters of historical injustice and the impact of secrets kept too long.