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The Bingo Palace (1994)

by Louise Erdrich

Other authors: Martie Holmer (Lettering, family tree)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Love Medicine (4)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
8881317,918 (3.77)61
"Louise Erdrich's brilliant novels of contemporary Native American and Midwestern life have brought her legions of fans and great critical acclaim. Here, in her latest and most luminescent work in the series begun with Love Medicine, the central character is Lipsha Morrissey, the illegitimate son of June Kashpaw and Gerry Nanapush. Lipsha brings together in his birth, rearing, and inheritance all of the major families from Erdrich's previous books, and, of course, represents the future." "At a crossroads in his life, Lipsha is summoned by his grandmother. He returns to the reservation and falls in love for the first time. But the object of his newfound obsessive desire, the beautiful and charismatic Shawnee Ray, is in the midst of deciding whether to marry Kipsha's boss, the wealthy reservation entrepreneur Lyman Lamartine. Lipsha is determined to win Shawnee Ray's love and begins with a modern approach - he asks her out for Chinese food. When their evening goes hopelessly, absurdly awry, he decides to try a more traditional method and goes to see his great grandmother, Fleur Pillager, a tribeswoman of a powerful ancient family, to ask for a Love Medicine. After following Fleur to her home in the remote woods, he realizes that this sacred and cherished ground is the exact spot that Lyman and others with aggressive business interests have chosen to open their federally sanctioned bingo palace. As is the case on so many reservations today, Lipsha finds himself torn between success and meaning, love and money, the future and the past." "A novel of spiritual depth, lyrical prose, and wild hope, The Bingo Palace explores the implications of the mystical element of chance in contemporary life and is sure to please all of Louise Erdrich's ardent fans as well as attract many new readers."--Jacket.… (more)

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» See also 61 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 13 (next | show all)
Erdrich here revisits some of the characters who pop up in her work elsewhere, tracing the Kashpaws, Nanapushes, and Morriseys into the late 20th century. This one felt pretty uneven, much more in the vein of Tales of Burning Love (which I did not much like) than some of her other more lyrical work. It was fine; it just felt more disjointed than some, and sort of incomplete. ( )
  dllh | Jan 6, 2021 |
This is a slow burn of a book that suddenly turns into a rollercoaster the last 30 pages. I won't spoil the ending, but I did not see it coming. Louise Erdrich enriches her Love Medicine universe even further in this novel. ( )
  DrFuriosa | Dec 4, 2020 |
"When you're driving the sweet empty roads between home and Fargo, endless and empty possibilities surround you. That's the view I like, all nothing particular. Sky, fields, and the signs of human attempts to alter same so small and unimportant and forgettable as you whiz by. I like blending into the distance. Passing shelter belts and fields that divide the world into squares, I always think of the chaos underneath. The signs and boundaries and markers on the surface are laid out strict, so recent that they make me remember how little time has passed since everything was high grass, taller than we stand, with no end. Beasts covered it. Birds by the million. Buffalo. If you sat still in one place they would parade past you for three days, head to head. Goose flocks blotted the sun, their cries like great storms. Bears. No ditches. Sloughs, rivers, and over all the winds, the vast winds blowing and careening with nothing in the way to stop them --- no buildings, fence lines to strum, no drive-in movie screens to bang against, not even trees."

I'm not sure this is the best paragraph to capture the essence of this novel but the image it generated for me was so irresistible. One of Louise Erdrich's Love Medicine novels, The Bingo Palace tells the story of young Lipsha Morrissey, lost in his agonizing love for Shawnee Ray Toose, and struggling to figure out the trajectory of his life. His deep friendship with his uncle Lyman (really, his cousin, but the relationships in this novel are complicated and best left to imprecise analysis), who is also in love with Shawnee Ray and has fathered a child with her, lends even greater angst to Lipsha's longing. This storyline of young love threads its way through a greater story, the story of the family and the community and the tragedies that have marked its history. Erdrich's lyrical prose blends dreams and myths and straightforward prose, all with an unflinchingly honest and compassionate lens focused on her characters. You can tell that Erdrich loves these characters, in all their humanity, the sublime and the base. But her love doesn't distract her from the story, nor from the inevitable strands from which life is woven, the tragic, tough, absurd, and glorious threads of the universal human experience. ( )
  EBT1002 | Oct 29, 2017 |
A continuation of the Chippewa family saga that began with "Love Medicine": Lipsha Morrissey has been summoned home to the Rez by his grandmother, Lulu Lamartine... Upon his return he falls in love for the first time, but with the woman of another man, Lyman Lamartine, twho is not only a relative, but also he man he works for.

Lipsha goes to seek help from his great grandmother Fleur Pillager...as he goes deeper into the woods to Fleur's house, which stands on ancient sacred ground, Lipsha realizes that this is where Lyman plans on building the Bingo Palace. Lipsha must then decide if he should stand with Lyman or be true to his ancestral roots & traditions.

This book was more difficult for me to follow than were the later works. Later works are focused on what seems to me fewer characters.... ( )
  Auntie-Nanuuq | Jan 18, 2016 |
Erdrich's writing is so pleasant, her creativity so deep. The events just kept getting more and more amazing as the story progressed, and I felt deeply for the characters and their human imperfections, and most of all their love. ( )
  MaureenCean | May 17, 2015 |
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» Add other authors (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Erdrich, Louiseprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Holmer, MartieLettering, family treesecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Dingler, C. LindaDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fuentecilla, EricCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Scholder, FritzCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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To Michael,
U R lucky 4 me
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On most winter days, Lulu Lamartine did not stir until the sun cast a patch of warmth for her to bask in and purr.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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"Louise Erdrich's brilliant novels of contemporary Native American and Midwestern life have brought her legions of fans and great critical acclaim. Here, in her latest and most luminescent work in the series begun with Love Medicine, the central character is Lipsha Morrissey, the illegitimate son of June Kashpaw and Gerry Nanapush. Lipsha brings together in his birth, rearing, and inheritance all of the major families from Erdrich's previous books, and, of course, represents the future." "At a crossroads in his life, Lipsha is summoned by his grandmother. He returns to the reservation and falls in love for the first time. But the object of his newfound obsessive desire, the beautiful and charismatic Shawnee Ray, is in the midst of deciding whether to marry Kipsha's boss, the wealthy reservation entrepreneur Lyman Lamartine. Lipsha is determined to win Shawnee Ray's love and begins with a modern approach - he asks her out for Chinese food. When their evening goes hopelessly, absurdly awry, he decides to try a more traditional method and goes to see his great grandmother, Fleur Pillager, a tribeswoman of a powerful ancient family, to ask for a Love Medicine. After following Fleur to her home in the remote woods, he realizes that this sacred and cherished ground is the exact spot that Lyman and others with aggressive business interests have chosen to open their federally sanctioned bingo palace. As is the case on so many reservations today, Lipsha finds himself torn between success and meaning, love and money, the future and the past." "A novel of spiritual depth, lyrical prose, and wild hope, The Bingo Palace explores the implications of the mystical element of chance in contemporary life and is sure to please all of Louise Erdrich's ardent fans as well as attract many new readers."--Jacket.

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