Wednesday, August 6, 2014

LOUISE ERDRICH: NATIVE AMERICAN STORYTELLER



Calling on her Ojibwa Native American and German heritage for inspiration, author Louise Erdrich is an original and prolific writer. Twenty-four of her novels, poetry books and young people’s books can be found on the shelves at the Monrovia Public Library. 

Raised by parents who taught at a Bureau of Indian Affairs school, Ms. Erdrich began writing when she was very young and her first published books immediately gained recognition. Dipping into various genres, she has won many awards and is most identified with fiction that brings insight into the neglected lives of contemporary Native Americans. 

The novel Love Medicine was her masterful debut. Set on a Chippewa reservation and told from multiple perspectives, this is story about the ups and downs of two families contending with the bleak and isolated situation of living on tribal land. Two other titles that captured the attention of readers were The Beet Queen and Tracks. The first is about an abandoned brother and sister, and the second about a group of Native Americans trying to hold onto their land. Both share the author’s frequent North Dakota setting, strong idiosyncratic characters whose lives  intertwine and imaginative storylines. 

Compared to To Kill a Mockingbird and the works of Toni Morrison, The Round House is Erdrich’s newest and most praised work.


When his mother is raped on sacred Indian ground where tribal authority cannot prosecute the Caucasian man who committed the crime, a thirteen-year-old boy seeks justice while trying to make sense of his world. Although the author’s themes sound dreary, her work is consistently compelling and enlightening.

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