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The Resource Four souls : [a novel], Louise Erdrich

Four souls : [a novel], Louise Erdrich

Label
Four souls : [a novel]
Title
Four souls
Title remainder
[a novel]
Statement of responsibility
Louise Erdrich
Title variation
4 souls
Creator
Subject
Genre
Language
eng
Storyline
Pace
Tone
Writing style
Character
Award
  • Booklist Editors' Choice, 2004.
  • New York Times Notable Book, 2004
Review
  • /*Starred Review*/ This small but incredibly rich chapter in Erdrich’s ongoing Native American saga is a continuation of the story of the enigmatic Fleur Pillager, begun in Tracks (1988). Such are Erdrich’s storytelling skills that even readers unfamiliar with that book will immediately be drawn into this novel. The decimation of Ojibwe land continues unabated, but the implacable Fleur has decided to exact revenge on one John James Mauser, who has built his wealth by acquiring Ojibwe land through underhanded tactics. She is hired on at his mansion as a laundress, but her plan suffers a setback when she learns that he is ill with a severe muscle disorder; she sets about curing him so that she can wreck him while he is in good condition, but in a bizarre twist, her relationship with Mauser takes a very different turn. Narrated in alternating chapters by aged and comical wise man Nanapush; his visionary, stubborn wife, Margaret; and Mauser’s spinster sister-in-law, the novel holds as its central theme the process of transformation, as each character is drawn toward healing and love in the most astonishing fashion. Effortlessly moving between the sacred and the profane, between grotesquerie and transcendence, Erdrich continues to spin her unique and compelling fiction. -- Joanne Wilkinson (BookList, 04-15-2004, p1405)
  • Fleur Pillager, one of Erdrich's most intriguing characters, embarks on a path of revenge in this continuation of the Ojibwe saga that began with Tracks . As a young woman, Fleur journeys from her native North Dakota to avenge the theft of her land. In Minneapolis, she locates the grand house of the thief: one John James Mauser, whom she plans to kill. But Fleur is patient and stealthy; she gets herself hired by Mauser's sister-in-law, Polly Elizabeth, as a laundress. Polly acts as the household manager, tending to the invalid Mauser as well as her sister, the flaky and frigid Placide. Fleur upends this domestic arrangement by ensnaring Mauser, who marries her in a desperate act of atonement. Revenge becomes complicated as Fleur herself suffers under its weight: she descends into alcoholism and gives birth to an autistic boy. In Erdrich's trademark style, chapters are narrated by alternating characters—in this case Polly Elizabeth, as well as Nanapush, the elderly man from Tracks , and his wife, Margaret. (Nanapush and Margaret's relationship, and the jealousies and revenge that ensue, play out as a parallel narrative.) More so than in other of Erdrich's books, this tale feels like an insider's experience: without the aid of jacket copy, new readers will have trouble feeling a sure sense of place and time. And Fleur herself—though fascinating—remains elusive. Nevertheless, the rich detail of Indian culture and community is engrossing, and Erdrich is deft (though never heavy-handed) in depicting the struggle to keep this culture alive in the face of North American "progress." The themes of fruitless revenge and redemption are strong here, especially when combined with the pull of her lyrical prose; Erdrich may not ensnare many new readers, but she will certainly satisfy her already significant audience. Agent, Andrew Wylie. (July 2) --Staff (Reviewed May 10, 2004) (Publishers Weekly, vol 251, issue 19, p33)
  • Erdrich here returns to her fictional chronicle of modern Native American culture, as exemplified by generations of interrelated North Dakotans, picking up where she ended in Tracks (1988). Although it contains crossover characters and allusions to past events, this work may be read without consulting the earlier work. Taking place several years after World War I and narrated principally by tribal leader Nanapush and Polly Elizabeth, a white woman from the city, the plot focuses on beautiful Ojibwe mystic Fleur Pillager. Adopting the powerful secret name Four Souls, Fleur travels to the urban mansion of her people's great enemy, John Mauser, and plans his execution (first miraculously curing him of a wasting illness). But Fleur's control slips: her peculiar marriage to Mauser and a crippling addiction to alcohol put her on the road again, with a severely damaged son and just two possessions: a luxurious automobile and an exquisite suit. However, once she returns to Matchimanito's lakeshore, these are sufficient means for achieving a kind of triumph. Fleur's story, along with comic subplots involving the narrators, is marked by imagery both poetic and moving, if at times overwrought. Yet the beauty of Erdrich's writing compensates more than adequately for that minor flaw. Recommended for most collections. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 3/15/04.]—Starr E. Smith, Fairfax Cty. P.L., VA --Starr E. Smith (Reviewed May 15, 2004) (Library Journal, vol 129, issue 9, p114)
  • /* Starred Review */ The loss of ancestral lands and the revivifying power of traditions shape the dialectic that informs the latest in Erdrich's expanding Ojibwe saga (The Master Butchers Singing Club, 2003, etc.).This taut ninth installment focuses on characters initially fully developed in her third novel, Tracks (1988): austere, semi-legendary "medicine woman" Fleur Pillager and aging tribal chairman and inveterate lover of women Gerry Nanapush. The story of Fleur's journey from her North Dakota reservation to Minneapolis, to seek revenge against prosperous land baron John James Mauser (the man who stole her land), and its bizarre aftermath are told by three narrators. Fleur's stoicism and steely resolve are vividly evoked by Gerry, in a long conversation with her estranged daughter Lulu. Her decision to ruin Mauser by first healing his mysterious illness, then marrying him is described by Mauser's spinster sister-in-law Polly Elizabeth, who becomes Fleur's employer, then her devoted nurse and companion . And, late in the story, the details of Fleur's return to the reservation and arduous re-connection with "her neglected spirits" are related by Gerry's strong-willed common-law-wife Margaret Kashpaw, who loves, tolerates, browbeats, and outwits the misbehaving Gerry, while patiently assembling from hunted and found natural materials the "medicine dress" whose magical powers may permit Fleur reentry into the world she had abandoned. Four Souls (the name passed on to Fleur by her supernaturally empowered grandmother) feels a bit hurried and at times awkwardly focused. We lose sight of Fleur for some time while Gerry recalls his rivalry with neighbor and mortal enemy Shesheeb (who has an eye for Margaret). But the tale's swiftness has a pleasing rhythm, and Erdrich's double plot does skillfully link Gerry's embattled relationship with Margaret to Fleur's purification through anger, alcoholism, and suffering—accomplished not just with Margaret's aid but with that of the retarded, "unnamed" son she bore her enemy.A welcome addition, then, to a uniquely enthralling and important American story. (Kirkus Reviews, April 15, 2004)
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/bookUI
124339
Cataloging source
DLC
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
Erdrich, Louise
Index
no index present
Interest level
UG
Literary form
fiction
Reading level
6.7
http://library.link/vocab/resourcePreferred
True
Study program name
Accelerated Reader AR
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
  • Indian women
  • Identity (Psychology)
  • Ojibwa Indians
  • Indian women
  • Laundresses
  • Land tenure
  • Rich people
  • Revenge
  • Minneapolis (Minn.)
  • North Dakota
Label
Four souls : [a novel], Louise Erdrich
Instantiates
Publication
Copyright
Note
Sequel to: Tracks
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Control code
484115
Dimensions
22 cm
Edition
First edition.
Extent
210 pages
Isbn
9780066209753
Isbn Type
(acid-free paper)
Lccn
2003065243
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
System control number
  • (Sirsi) i9780066209753
  • (Sirsi) ADO-0614
Label
Four souls : [a novel], Louise Erdrich
Publication
Copyright
Note
Sequel to: Tracks
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Control code
484115
Dimensions
22 cm
Edition
First edition.
Extent
210 pages
Isbn
9780066209753
Isbn Type
(acid-free paper)
Lccn
2003065243
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
System control number
  • (Sirsi) i9780066209753
  • (Sirsi) ADO-0614

Library Locations

    • Pleasant Hill BranchBorrow it
      211 E. William Cannon Blvd., Austin, TX, 78745, US
      30.1922461 -97.7771661
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