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The Plague of Doves by Louise Erdrich

The Plague of Doves (original 2008; edition 2009)

by Louise Erdrich

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1,345635,736 (3.73)290
Title:The Plague of Doves
Authors:Louise Erdrich
Info:Harper Perennial (2009), Edition: 1 Reprint, Paperback, 352 pages
Collections:Your library

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The Plague of Doves by Louise Erdrich (2008)

  1. 20
    Paradise by Toni Morrison (tangentialine)
    tangentialine: I love how the structure is similar, but also how in both books there is attention to some key characters and a focus on racial tension and the heritage of the past. And the language is breathtakingly gorgeous in both books.
  2. 00
    The Round House by Louise Erdrich (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: If you want to read more about the characters and events portrayed in The Round House, read The Plague of Doves, which shares characters and events with the later novel.
  3. 00
    The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver (charl08)
  4. 00
    Ten Little Indians by Sherman Alexie (charl08)

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English (60)  Dutch (2)  German (1)  All languages (63)
Showing 1-5 of 60 (next | show all)
Unexpected - I loved this book in the beginning and then it veered off and become a different book than I was expecting. ( )
  mamashepp | Mar 29, 2016 |
Unexpected - I loved this book in the beginning and then it veered off and become a different book than I was expecting. ( )
  mamashepp | Mar 29, 2016 |
This novel includes scenes of heartbreaking violence, but also includes an intermittently whimsical, even childlike narrative voice, and more than a touch of magic-realism lacing through family lore that is written with such a detached loveliness that it seemed to come from a different book, and wow, I really didn't like it. It's as if I ate an Altoid and a Sweet Tart at the same time. Maybe throw in a salt tablet too. There are a handful of books in my reading experience that I can tell objectively are well-written, even fine books, but even so these books repel me because of having too many flavors that don't work together. I could not find a way to integrate these disparate things into a meaningful whole. ( )
  poingu | Jan 23, 2016 |
A family is brutally murdered in 1911 and a lynch mob hastily hangs several Ojibwe Indians living nearby. Decades later the descendants of those involved have intermarried and the stories of what happened have become distorted over time.

Erdrich published sections of this novel previously as magazine short stories. Different sections of the book are narrated by different characters. Unfortunately this does result in a somewhat disjointed story line, jumping back and forth in time between 1911 and 1970s. There is a huge cast of characters and some are known by more than one name. But please, do not let these elements deter you. Erdrich’s prose is lyrical and flowing. I was intrigued and interested in the lives of the inhabitants of this small town just outside the reservation in a corner of North Dakota. The novel deals with issues of identity and self-worth, of knowing and appreciating one’s background and family history, of love and passion, of forgiveness and revenge.

The audio book is well performed by the duo of Kathleen McInernery and Peter Francis James. They are able to differentiate the many characters, whether a young girl or an aging grandfather.
( )
  BookConcierge | Jan 13, 2016 |
The Plague of Doves by Louise Erdrich

"Nothing that happens, nothing, is not connected here by blood." So says Judge Antone Bazil Coutts, one of four narrators of Louise Erdrich's [The Plague of Doves], which is set in and around Pluto, North Dakota, an all-white town on the edge of an Indian reservation,

At the center of this tale, is an episode of "rough justice" following the brutal murders of almost an entire farm family. It happened in the early years of the twentieth century. The only survivor was an infant; her parents, sister, and two brothers were shot-gunned.

The murders were discovered by four Ojibwe Indians, drawn to the bawling of the family's cows, which hadn't been milked for several days and thus were suffering. They milked the cows, feeding the infant in the process. Knowing they would be accused of the crime, they left the baby in her crib and vanished, but one did, in the dead of night, leave a note in the sheriff's mailbox. In short order, the crime was discovered by the whites, and somehow the Indians quickly were rounded up. Seized from the sheriff's custody by the white community's bully-boys, they were lynched.

The story is told decades after the fact to Evelina Harp, another of the narrators, by Mooshum Milk, her grandfather. Mooshum is a full-blooded Ojibwa. As it happens, he was one of the four Indians hanged. The men who lynched them, however, didn't allow him to die.

Evelina is gobsmacked. Her mother, Moosum's daughter, and her father, the son of a local (failed) banker, have heard the story before, indeed they tried to dissuade its recital on this occasion. Evelina explains:

The story Mooshum told us had its repercussions—the first being that I could not look at anyone in quite the same way anymore. I became obsessed with lineage. As I came to the end of my small leopard-print diary…I wrote down as much of Mooshum's story as I could remember, and then the relatives of everyone I knew—parents, grandparents, way on back in time. I traced the blood history of the murders through my classmates and friends until I could draw out elaborate spider webs of lines and intersecting circles. I drew in pencil. There were a few people, one of them being Corwin Peace, whose chart was so complicated that I erased parts of it until I wore right through the paper. Still, I could not erase the questions underneath, and Mooshum was no help. He bore interrogation with a vexed wince and silence. I persisted, kept on asking for details, but answered in evasions, to get rid of me. He never spoke with the direct fluidity of that first telling. His medicine bottle, confiscated by our mother, had held whisky. No one knew from what source. She'd never get him to stop. I still loved Mooshum, of course, but with this tale something in my regard of him was disturbed, as if I'd stepped into a clear stream and silt had billowed up around my feet.

As the book progresses, Judge Coutts recounts the mid-winter expedition that sited Pluto, a brutal trek made by his grandfather and four local brothers, the Buckendorfs, led by two Ojibwas, Henri and Lafayette Peace. In time, the younger brother of Henri and Lafayette, Cuthbert Peace would be lynched by Emil Buckendorf (and others). And Sister Mary Anita Buckendorf, Evelina's elementary school teacher and grandaughter of Emil, will acknowledge that Mooshum was hanged, but not to kill him. "Yes, my dear," Mary Anita says. "Wildstrand cut him down at the last moment, yes…{T}hey never meant to hang him all the way. They wanted to terrify him, to intimidate him. A false hanging will do that."

Ultimately, the mystery is solved. It's an elaborate, multigenerational spider web. As the Judge pointed out: "Nothing that happens, nothing, is not connected here by blood."

Did I like it? Of course. Both thumbs up.
  weird_O | Sep 14, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 60 (next | show all)
Writing in prose that combines the magical sleight of hand of Gabriel García Márquez with the earthy, American rhythms of Faulkner, Ms. Erdrich traces the connections between these characters and their many friends and relatives with sympathy, humor and the unsentimental ardor of a writer who sees that the tragedy and comedy in her people’s lives are ineluctably commingled. Whereas some of her recent novels, like “Four Souls” (2004), have suffered from predictability and contrivance, her storytelling here is supple and assured, easily navigating the wavering line between a recognizable, psychological world and the more arcane world of legend and fable. . . .
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The gun jammed on the last shot and the baby stood holding the crib rail, eyes wild, bawling.
Nothing that happens, nothing, is not connected here by blood.
But of course the entire reservation is rife with conflicting passions. We can't seem to keep our hands off one another, it is true, and every attempt to foil our lusts through laws and religious dictus seems bound instead to excite transgression.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0060515120, Hardcover)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:09:32 -0400)

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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.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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