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Four Souls

by Louise Erdrich

Series: Love Medicine (3.5)

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7511321,223 (3.74)48
From New York Times bestselling author Louise Erdrich comes a haunting novel that continues the rich and enthralling Ojibwe saga begun in her novel Tracks. After taking her mother's name, Four Souls, for strength, the strange and compelling Fleur Pillager walks from her Ojibwe reservation to the cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul. She is seeking restitution from and revenge on the lumber baron who has stripped her tribe's land. But revenge is never simple, and her intentions are complicated by her dangerous compassion for the man who wronged her.    … (more)

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» See also 48 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 13 (next | show all)
After a slow start, Erdrich rewards the patient reader with a rich and wonderful tale reminding us that evil can never be redeemed by more evil.

Fleur Pillager travels to the 1920s era city of Minneapolis, seeking to retrieve the land swindled from her by a wealthy white man -- or to take his life in return. What appears to be a straighforward mission of revenge and retribution is twisted into something far more complex.

The multiple narrators reveal things bit by bit, bouncing between Fleur's life in the city and the lives of her extended family members still living on the reservation, including most notably old Nanapush, who is having his own struggles with keeping Margaret, the wife of his heart, out of the clutches of an old enemy and former brother-in-law.

Nanapush and Margaret's relationship, frankly, is much more interesting than Fleur's with James Mauser. The old man's battle with a pesky fly (who may be the shape-changed spirit of his rival for Margaret) is much reminiscent of parts of Erdrich's "Love Medicine", with its same sweet humor.

There's also a layer to the story dealing with language, with the power of names, and with the power of women to channel healing through their labors. Women, Erdrich says through Margaret, "turn things inside out and set them right." Including, eventually, Fleur. ( )
  LyndaInOregon | Aug 29, 2019 |
I think this book really has an interesting dual narrative going between a traditional First Nations/Native American and a colonizer. The themes of revenge and how they take a toll on a person in all ways, and the jarring disconnection of attempts at self assimilation are beautifully written. ( )
  SadieRuin | Jan 16, 2017 |
@ Indian seeking revenge for land — intertwined with many stories + twists

Four Souls begins with Fleur Pillager's journey from North Dakota to Minneapolis, where she plans to avenge the loss of her family's land to a white man. After a dream vision that gives her a powerful new name, Four Souls, she enters the household of John James Mauser. A man notorious for his wealth and his mansion on a hill, Mauser became rich by deceiving young Indian women and taking possession of their ancestral lands. What promises to be a straightforward tale of revenge, however, slowly metamorphoses into a more complex evocation of human nature.
  christinejoseph | Sep 16, 2016 |
Powerful tale of revenge. Told thro multiple points of view, with Fleur being the central character. Provides ingsight into the Obijewa culture, mainly by including the relationship between two older Indians still on reservation. Lot of ways the story could be interpreted. ( )
  Pmaurer | Oct 30, 2014 |
I really liked this book. But even more, really liked reading this book. It got me out of a reading rut and I devoured it in a couple days. There is not a lot of variety among the authors that I read. They are overwhelmingly white and mostly American or British and they more or less write about the world they know(to my credit I think I read an equal balance of men and women, though I'd have to check the hard facts of my goodreads account). Anyway, Louise Erdrich writes about the people she knows, Native Americans - she is part native american and a member of some tribe, only I can't recall the names or the details and I certainly cannot spell them by memory. The result: post-modern novels about Native American issues. She's created this fictionalised world of a reservation where characters and events develop across different books - but not in a chronological way like Harry Potter. Each of her books dip in on one little story, and the next on another maybe a generation down, and so on. Thankfully, the funny and eloquent Nanapush appears frequently. In Four Souls he's the main narrator, telling a story of love and revenge. ( )
  allisonneke | Dec 17, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 13 (next | show all)
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Epigraph
She threw out one soul and it came back hungry.
Dedication
Kaanish inaa indinaawemaaganitog,
Asemaa ingii pagichige chi otaapin aawat atasookanag. Aya ii onji wegonen ina pichi tazhimag kaaye pichi ozhibii'wag kaagi aaya sig.
Kaawiin wiin aawiya nibaapinenimaasi. Pepekaan inenimishig.
Miigwech, Weweni sago.
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Fleur took the small roads, the rutted paths through the woods traversing slough edge and heavy underbrush, trackless, unmapped, unknown and always bearing east.
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From New York Times bestselling author Louise Erdrich comes a haunting novel that continues the rich and enthralling Ojibwe saga begun in her novel Tracks. After taking her mother's name, Four Souls, for strength, the strange and compelling Fleur Pillager walks from her Ojibwe reservation to the cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul. She is seeking restitution from and revenge on the lumber baron who has stripped her tribe's land. But revenge is never simple, and her intentions are complicated by her dangerous compassion for the man who wronged her.    

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