LaRose (Erdrich)

I know it’s not a trendy thing to say, but I think I am more of a fan of Erdrich’s later work. The Round House is a masterpiece, and LaRose is very good. I was unmoved by Love Medicine, and though there is much to appreciate about The Master Butchers Singing Club, I didn’t connect with it either.

There is a small-town-ness about this book. Everyone knows everyone, and that is both good and bad. A stunning accident occurs in the first few pages of the novel, in a magnificently written section titled (not accidentally) “Two Houses,” which sends all involved reeling, both forward and backward in time, even the character (not coincidentally named) Romeo. The only true outsider, Father Travis, at least has that history in his head.

Initially, because they were not very regular, it was challenging to follow the back story of the people who carried the name LaRose before the current incarnation. But as events of the story unfolded, the clarity and necessity of these flashbacks increased.

Overall, I found the characters to be genuine and interesting, and there are many memorable moments (that I don’t want to spoil).

Erdrich biography

Erdrich’s excellent bookstore

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