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A daily record of what I'm thinking about what I'm reading

To read about movies and TV shows I'm watching, visit my other blog: Elliot's Watching

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Erdrich

More than any other American writer other than maybe IB Singer - a writer w whom she shares little else in re subject matter or even style - Louise Erdrich is able to blend realism and fable, myth, or legend into a coherent narrative. Almost no other writers can get away w having something appear as if by magic or enchantment and take over the plot. Erdrich can, and her story The Flower in current New Yorker is a great example. Story set in the 1830a on a trading outpost near a reservation where a abused Native American woman sells her 11-year-old daughter for a pot of whiskey. The center of the story is a young man from the east working at the post who essentially rescues the girl from captivity - eventually leading her to some missionaries who enroll her in and Indian school where it is implied that over time she will lose her cultural heritage - for better or worse. Was she really rescued or just re-imprisoned? The fantastical element involves the severed head of the man at the trading post who abused her and whom they killed to make their escape. In some way that component isn't truly necessary for the story - but this element gives the story it's strange aura and hue helping us understand that there are forces at work beyond the rational and that the eponymous girl (flower) is truly giving up a world and a life in which she was both cruelly abused and in possession of great, mysterious powers. Earlier posts will show my disappointment w erdrich's well received novel the round house but this story - maybe part of a new novel?- shows e at her best and continues to make her case as a future American Nobelist (something else in common w Singer).

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