The Plague of Doves
By Louise Erdrich
(Harper, Hardcover, 9780060515126, 320pp.)
Publication Date: May 2008
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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.
Louise Erdrich lives with her family in Minnesota and is the owner of Birchbark Books, an independent bookstore. Ms. Erdrich is a member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa, and this storywhich will, in the end, span one hundred years in the life of an Ojibwe womanwas inspired when Ms. Erdrich and her mother, Rita Gourneau Erdrich, were researching their own family history. Chickadee begins a new part of the story that started with The Birchbark House, a National Book Award finalist; The Game of Silence, winner of the Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction; and the acclaimed The Porcupine Year.
Ms. Erdrich is also the bestselling author of many critically acclaimed novels for adults, including the Pulitzer Prize finalist The Plague of Doves and National Book Award finalist The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse. She is also the author of the picture book Grandmother's Pigeon, illustrated by Jim LaMarche.
“[Erdrich’s] accomplishment in these pages is Tolstoy-like: to render human particularity so meticulously and with such fierce passion as to convey the great, glittering movement of time.”
-San Francisco Chronicle
“Writing in prose that combines the magical sleight of hand of Gabriel García Márquez with the earthy, American rhythms of Faulkner...[Ms. Erdrich] has written what is arguably her most ambitious—and in many ways, her most deeply affecting—work yet.”
-Michiko Kakutani, New York Times
“An intricate tale of heartbreak and humor...wondrous novel...What marks these stories...is what has always set Erdrich apart and made her work seem miraculous: the jostling of pathos and comedy...Sit down and listen carefully.”
-Washington Post Book World
“Wholly felt and exquisitely rendered tales of memory and magic...an intricate tapestry that deeply satisfies the mind, the heart, and the spirit.”
-Pam Houston, O, The Oprah Magazine
“The stories told by [Erdrich’s] characters offer pleasures of language, of humor, of sheer narrative momentum, that shine even in the darkest moments of the book.”
“Erdrich deftly weaves past and present, and her literary territory is as intricate as Faulkner’s Yoknapatawpha County.”
“One can only marvel...at Erdrich’s amazing ability to do what so few of us can – shape words into phrases and sentences of incomparable beauty that, then, pour forth a mesmerizing story.”
“Mesmerizing… Erdrich ...communicate[s] the complexity and the mystery of human relationships.”
-Booklist (starred review)
“To read Louise Erdrich’s thunderous new novel is to leap headlong into the fiery imagination of a master storyteller...a rich, colorful mosaic of tales that twist and turn for decades...”
“Erdrich has demonstrated a rare ability to create vibrant, wholly original characters and to describe nature in a prose so lyrical it becomes poetry. ‘The Plague of Doves’ is proof that she has yet to exhaust her powerful magic.”
“...at once mythic and down-to-earth...beautiful, funny, moving, and unexpected.”
“Erdrich’s latest novel...is so natural you forget there’s a writer behind it...Instantly gripping...”
“Erdrich is in top form here...”
-Time Out New York
“A multigenerational tour de force of sin, redemption, murder and vengeance”
-Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“A lush, multilayered book…The magic lies in the details of Erdrich’s ever-replenishing mythology.”
“Louise Erdrich’s imaginative freedom has reached its zenith—THE PLAGUE OF DOVES is her dazzling masterpiece.”