Review of Louise Erdrich’s New Novel, “The Plague of Doves”

From Rocky Mountain News:

There’s a clue to the way Louise Erdrich’s mind works in a note at the beginning of her new novel, The Plague of Doves.

It’s a standard message stating that all the places and people in the book are imagined, but the author lists an exception, a character named Holy Track. “In 1897,” she writes, “at the age of thirteen, Paul Holy Track was hanged by a mob in Emmons County, North Dakota.”

Other writers hitting upon this intriguing and sad bit of history might construct a novel focused around Paul himself, but as Erdrich has demonstrated in her prior novels about an Ojibwe and French Canadian clan, she thinks in terms of generations. In this book, Erdrich embeds the detail in a larger narrative about relatives and neighbors that preceded or followed him. As in her other novels, she makes room for comedy next to tragedy and includes good doses of passion, from schoolgirl crushes to a college girl’s lesbian fling to forbidden romances among the elderly.

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