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Larose

By: Louise Erdrich

Publisher: HarperCollins Trade

Imprint: Harper

Format: Hardcover | ISBN: 9780062277022

Other Formats:

Electronic | Trade Paperback

On Sale: | Pages: 384

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In this literary masterwork, Louise Erdrich, the bestselling author of the National Book Award-winningThe Round Houseand the Pulitzer PrizenomineeThe Plague of Doveswields her breathtaking narrative magic in an emotionally haunting contemporary tale of a tragic accident, a demand for justice, and a profound act of atonement with ancient roots in Native American culture.North Dakota, late summer, 1999. Landreaux Iron stalks a deer along the edge of the property bordering his own. He shoots with easy confidence but when the buck springs away, Landreaux realizes he s hit something else, a blur he saw as he squeezed the trigger. When he staggers closer, he realizes he has killed his neighbor s five-year-old son, Dusty Ravich.The youngest child of his friend and neighbor, Peter Ravich, Dusty was best friends with Landreaux s five-year-old son, LaRose. The two families have always been close, sharing food, clothing, and rides into town; their children played together despite going to different schools; and Landreaux s wife, Emmaline, is half sister to Dusty s mother, Nola. Horrified at what he s done, the recovered alcoholic turns to an Ojibwe tribe tradition the sweat lodge for guidance, and finds a way forward. Following an ancient means of retribution, he and Emmaline will give LaRose to the grieving Peter and Nola. Our son will be your son now, they tell them.LaRose is quickly absorbed into his new family. Plagued by thoughts of suicide, Nola dotes on him, keeping her darkness at bay. His fierce, rebellious new sister, Maggie, welcomes him as a coconspirator who can ease her volatile mother s terrifying moods. Gradually he s allowed shared visits with his birth family, whose sorrow mirrors the Raviches own. As the years pass, LaRose becomes the linchpin linking the Irons and the Raviches, and eventually their mutual pain begins to heal.But when a vengeful man with a long-standing grudge against Landreaux begins raising trouble, hurling accusations of a cover-up the day Dusty died, he threatens the tenuous peace that has kept these two fragile families whole.Inspiring and affecting, LaRoseis a powerful exploration of loss, justice, and the reparation of the human heart, and an unforgettable, dazzling tour de force from one of America s most distinguished literary masters."
At the novel's heart is the extraordinary little boy who has enough love to bridge both families and not crack under the weight of the peacemaking role he was thrust into as a kindergartner.... It's not necessary to have read “The Round House or “The Plague of Doves” to be awed by Erdrich's expert weaving of a family saga. But those who have will recognize familiar faces, such as Father Travis, the veteran turned priest who exorcises his PTSD with compulsive exercise and trawls dive bars for lost souls.... You wouldn't want to reduce the beauty and complexity of “LaRose” down to a moral, but let's at least leave the original LaRose and the other ancestors with the last word.
—Christian Science Monitor
The spongy sections of “LaRose” happen when Erdrich's characters seem too good to be true, such as saintlike LaRose and his beautiful, athletic adopted teenage sisters. Much more engaging is their other sister, troubled and troubling Maggie, and their mother, Nola, who compulsively bakes elaborate cakes to assuage LaRose's sorrow at being ripped from his home, cakes that the children stop eating.... Erdrich makes superb use of food as a means of redemption.... Erdrich has always been fascinated by the relationship between revenge and justice, but while “The Round House” suggested the allure of revenge, “LaRose” comes down firmly on the side of forgiveness. Can a person do the worst possible thing and still be loved? Erdrich's answer is a resounding yes.
—New York Times
Many novels circle around an exceptional incident or unspeakable tragedy, but what sets Erdrich's writing apart is the way her characters become real people — not just stoic or hysterical actors in a tragedy.... The way Erdrich orchestrates the many parts of this story — the history, culture and Ojibwe beliefs coming to bear on the tragic situation affecting two families — is, as always, dazzling. Erdrich herself is a healer, a storyteller who can examine a collection of individuals, scarred and fragmented by the circumstances of their lives, and piece together a resonant wholeness.
—Dallas Morning News
You're going to want to take your time with this book, so lavish in its generational scope, its fierce torrent of wrongs and its luxurious heart. Anyway, you may have no choice, as you fall under the spell of a master investigating invisible boundaries and perpetual bisectings.... Erdrich writes the enspirited and the visible, traveling that bisecting line that separates the present from the past. Revenge can live alongside honor, grace with trauma. She mingles the enduring pain with humor, ceremony, ritual, legacy, reparations both real and false, and so much love, blending ceaselessly until no separate parts remain but one beautiful novel.
—San Francisco Chronicle
This story is trademark Erdrich, the new mixed with the old.... “LaRose” is told with aching understanding by Erdrich, who has great affection for her characters. This timeless 15th novel stands as one of Erdrich's best: comprehending and comprehensive, full of cascading, resonant details punctuated with spiky humor.
—Kansas City Star
Erdrich has a rich cast of troubled characters to populate this search for spiritual justice... Not every one of the many threads in LaRose resonates � Erdrich dwells on Maggie's healthy interest in volleyball when her unhealthy interest in pencil-stabbing vengeance on school bullies is much more fascinating. Maggie's struggle, though, speaks to the kind of push and pull that Erdrich is interested in: preserving family even when families fracture, finding a semblance of safety in a place with a wild past, reaching clarity while acknowledging the inexplicable. Straight answers are blessedly absent.
—USA Today
Ever the master of emotions, Erdrich --- whose accolades include the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award, National Book Award for Fiction, and Library of Congress Prize in American Fiction --- incorporates elements of guilt, justice and atonement. She turns a tedious digression of the first of five LaRose generations into a thriller of sorts, and clever suspense entices mystery fans.
—Bookreporter.com
Some stories are years, decades, even centuries in the making. But the terrible accident that sets the stage for Louise Erdrich's superb new novel — set on her fertile literary soil, tribal land in North Dakota — occurs swiftly and brutally.... a novel so steeped in life and wonder and joy and sorrow that you may be tempted to call it Erdrich's best. To be fair, each new novel she writes could conceivably earn that title. Still, LaRose offers a compelling argument.... Immersing us in this remarkable world so thoroughly, so satisfyingly, is Erdrich's.
—Miami Herald
Erdrich increasingly piles on peripheral characters and incidents, expanding the novel's scope at the expense of digging deeper into its central story. Her storytelling instincts, so fine and sharp in her short fiction (and starting with her award-winning 1984 debut, "Love Medicine"), succumb to sprawl.... Unfortunately, "LaRose" is saddled with other concerns that, if not entirely extraneous, feel like clutter.... The biggest problem is LaRose himself, who, rather than coming off as an actual boy coping with being shuttled between two troubled households, is more of an emblem.... By its end, "LaRose" feels more scattered than symphonic.
—Seattle Times
Through the three years the book covers, the boy LaRose does seem to quietly possess strange powers, and to exert a subtle healing influence as he shuttles between the two devastated families, weaving together the loosely but inextricably connected characters, real and mythic, past and present, who people his world � which reaches far beyond his own small rural North Dakota reservation town. Erdrich's light touch moving among them allows for a surprising depth of feeling wherever we look... All of these people's doings merit Erdrich's fine-tuned, sympathetic attention... But it is Maggie, Dusty's teenage sister, who is the book's center of emotional gravity, as she navigates her family's loss, painful adolescence and first love.
—Minneapolis Star Tribune
Even more fascinating than Erdrich's portrayal of the four parents consumed by “the phosphorus of grief” is her delicate handling of LaRose himself, the young boy forced to serve as the coin of this reparation.... This is almost impossible to get right — that precarious mixture of innocence, wisdom and humor that can quickly curdle into preciousness. But Erdrich never missteps. The visions that LaRose experiences seem wholly in concert with his adolescent mind, and his efforts to save his adoptive parents from their own despair by hiding all the ropes, pesticides and bullets feel entirely appropriate for a child determined to do what he can.... The recurring miracle of Erdrich's fiction is that nothing feels miraculous in her novels. She gently insists that there are abiding spirits in this land and alternative ways of living and forgiving that have somehow survived the West's best efforts to snuff them out.
—Washington Post
“LaRose” offers a unified vision of human suffering, which, however compelling, allows little space for life's other emotions.
—Wall Street Journal
LaRose fits like a carefully cut quilt piece into the world of Erdrich's fiction.... Erdrich writes convincingly of the unpredictable process of the families fracturing, then drawing together in new ways.... Erdrich's characters are, as she writes of Romeo, "descended of the one Indian in ten who had preternatural immunities, self-healing abilities, and had survived a thousand plagues." None of them will emerge unscarred, but healing will come.
—Tampa Bay Times
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