Louise Erdrich Pages: 372 Published: 2016
The book: In North Dakota, an Ojibwe man, Landreaux Iron, goes hunting. He takes aim at a buck and fires. He realizes that he hit something other than the deer. He killed Dusty, the five-year-old son of his neighbor, Peter Ravich.
The Irons and Ravichs are related by marriage and have always been close. The two families agree to follow an ancient Indian tradition. Landreaux and his wife Emmaline give their youngest son, LaRose, to Peter and his wife Nola.
How will this play out? Will the two families cope? Where will it end?
You might like it because: Erdrich is masterful when it comes to weaving together the stories of complex relationships. She goes back and forth in time to explain how the past impacts her characters’ present. This is a beautifully told story of loss, grief, love, forgiveness, and redemption.
What did other people say?
“The rewards of LAROSE lie in the quick unraveling and the slow reconstruction of these lives to a moment when animosities resolve, like shards of glass in a kaleidoscope, into clarity and understanding…Told with constraint and conviction…” – Los Angeles Times
“…a magnificent, sorrowful tale of justice, retribution, and love.” – Vanity Fair
Awards & Recognition:
New York Times Book Review – 100 Notable Books of 2016
How quickly will you get into the book?
The tragedy occurs on the second page of the first chapter. I had to read on from there to see how it would end.
You might not like it because: The novel starts with the death of a five-year-old. This doesn’t really make you want to dive into it.
Erdrich uses minimal punctuation when she writes dialogue in this novel. There’s no “he said” or “she said.” At times this makes it hard to work out which character is talking or whether something is said or thought, which can be frustrating.
What might you read next?
Read another story set in North Dakota, this time on Sioux tribal lands: The Grass Dancer by Susan Power.
Or try some non-fiction. Read the biography of Indian activist Russell Means, who was raised on an Indian reservation in South Dakota, Where White Men Fear To Tread.