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Louise Erdrich

The Plague of Doves


2009 Fiction

Erdrich’s 13th novel, a multi-generational tour de force of sin, redemption, murder and vengeance, finds its roots in the 1911 slaughter of a farming family near Pluto, North Dakota. The family’s infant daughter is spared, and a posse forms, incorrectly blames three Indians and lynches them.

One, Mooshum Milk, miraculously survives. Over the next century, descendants of both the hanged men and the lynch mob develop relationships that become deeply entangled, and their disparate stories are held together via principal narrator Evelina, Mooshum Milk’s granddaughter, who comes of age on an Indian reservation near Pluto in the 1960s and 70s and forms two fateful adolescent crushes: one on bad-boy schoolmate Corwin Peace and one on a nun. Though Evelina doesn’t know it, both are descendants of lynch mob members. The plot splinters as Evelina enrolls in college and finds work at a mental asylum; Corwin spirals into a life of crime; and a long-lost violin (its back story is another beautiful piece of the mosaic) takes on massive significance. Erdrich plays individual narratives off one another, dropping apparently insignificant clues that build to head-slapping revelations as fates intertwine and the person responsible for the 1911 killing is identified.

Louise Erdrich is the author of twelve novels as well as volumes of poetry, children’s books, and a memoir of early motherhood. Her debut novel, Love Medicine, won the National Book Critics Circle Award. The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse was a finalist for the National Book Award. Her most recent novel, The Plague of Doves, a New York Times bestseller, received the highest praise from Philip Roth, who wrote, “Louise Erdrich’s imaginative freedom has reached its zenith–The Plague of Doves is her dazzling masterpiece.” Louise Erdrich lives in Minnesota with her daughters and is the owner of Birchbark Books, a small independent bookstore.

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Blog Posts about Louise Erdrich

2014 Dayton Literary Peace Prize Honors Year's Best Literature On Peace And Social Justice

From left to right, the 2014 Dayton Literary Peace Prize winners: Margaret Wrinkle,  Bob Shacochis, Louise Erdrich, Karima Bennoune, and Jo Roberts pose with their prizes before the awards ceremony. From left to right, the 2014 Dayton Literary Peace Prize winners: Margaret Wrinkle, Bob Shacochis, Louise Erdrich, Karima Bennoune, and Jo Roberts pose with their prizes before the awards ceremony. On a recent sunny Sunday morning, four celebrated American writers rose early to meet for breakfast and chew over the merits of Kentucky Fried Chicken. “I worked as a Kentucky Fried Chicken hostess,” said novelist Louise Erdrich, who won an Anisfield-Wolf Book Award for A Plague of Doves.  “And I’ll just say it: the secret ingredient... Read More →

Debating The Best Book Lists: Does Amazon's "100 Books To Read In A Lifetime" Get It Right?

Wither the best book list? Inherently inane and crazy-making, these are also undeniably good conversation starters. Amazon has posted the latest iteration: its best “100 Books to Read in a Lifetime.” It includes two Anisfield-Wolf prize novels: Junot Diaz' “The Brief, Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao” and Toni Morrison’s “Beloved," as well as James McBride’s memoir “The Color of Water.” Also on the list is the immortal “Invisible Man” from Ralph Ellison, which won an Anisfield-Wolf Landmark Achievement, and books by... Read More →

Are There Books On Your Holiday List? Here's Three Books We Think You Should Include

this is how If you haven't read it already, Junot Diaz' This is How You Lose Her is a terrific collection of short stories that reaffirmed NY Times book critic Michiko Kakutani belief that Diaz has "one of the most distinctive and magnetic voices in contemporary fiction."                      Multiple book critics have deemed Louise Erdrich's new novel the best she's written and that's saying a lot as her other 13 novels have been widely praised for her extraordinary storytelling skills... Read More →

VIDEO: Louise Erdrich On Her New Book, "Round House"

Screen shot 2015-05-06 at 11.41.31 AM (Read the transcript here) We talked about Junot Diaz' great year, but Louise Erdrich is another Anisfield-Wolf winner with an amazing 2012. She released her 14th novel and saw it win the National Book Award, among others. In an interview with the Daily Beast she said: I suppose if I lived in New York this would not seem so dreamlike. The actual award—a bronze sculpture of a scroll and a book (good for weight lifting) is on a shelf at the bookstore. Soon I’ll bring it to my hometown’s art gallery, the Red Door, for a visit, then up... Read More →

Louise Erdrich Wins 2012 National Book Award For Fiction

Louise Erdrich NBA12 Photo courtesy Robin Platzer, National Book Awards We are thrilled to congratulate 2009 Anisfield-Wolf winner Louise Erdrich on her win at the 2012 National Book Awards. She was awarded the prize for fiction, for her novel, Round House.  In her interview with the National Book Awards, she talked about whether she writes for her audience or for herself. "My characters have my attention—trying to find them, understand them, think like them, feel what they would feel, behave on the page as they would," she said. "And then there is the... Read More →

Junot Diaz, Louise Erdrich Named Finalists For The National Book Awards

Screen shot 2015-05-06 at 12.10.54 PM We keep on telling you how terrific 2012 is shaping up for Junot Diaz and the accolades keep coming. Today, he and fellow Anisfield-Wolf award winner Louise Erdrich were named as 2012 National Book Awards finalists. Watch the announcement in the video below: Read More →

Friday Lit Review: Are E-Books Taking Over?

Screen shot 2015-05-06 at 1.46.34 PM Each Friday we’ll be bringing you news about your favorite authors, literature and books in general. Tell us what you think in the comments: Your E-Book Is Reading You The Wall Street Journal takes an in-depth look at e-books and moves beyond the simple question of whether they will replace physical books (trust us - they won't). Instead, they're looking at what e-books tell publishers that simply isn't possible with physical copies and what that means for the industry:  Barnes & Noble has determined, through analyzing Nook data... Read More →