Paul's Corner: LaRose by Louise Erdrich

Book Image: 
Blog Book Author: 
Louise Erdrich

Two Ojibwe families, so close they might be a single family, live close to each other. Each family has a 5-year-old son. Best friends. There is a terrible accident, there must be a terrible accident or the story cannot move forward. Landreaux Iron is out hunting one North Dakota morning. He pulls the trigger and kills five-year-old, Dusty Ravich. The two Ojibwe families must do what they can to change things back to the way they were.

I’ve seen this plot work its way through any number of incarnations over the years almost always to a tragic end.  Erdrich’s new book gives this nearly unimaginably sad story a tone of hope by virtue of the Ojibwe respect for one another and a native ethic very different from the European eye for an eye notion.  

Each character must learn to wrap themselves in the sadness of the moment, to step forward, to learn a different life. Two mothers, two fathers and five-year-old LaRose who understands so little.  Such a beautiful book.  Such lessons. Louise Erdrich has become one of our finest novelists.
 --- PAUL