From the winner of the National Book Award for Fiction, 2012 comes this elegantly crafted novel that explores the strange power that lost children exert on the memories of those they leave behind When Faye Travers is sent to appraise a family estate in a small New Hampshire town and comes across a forgotten set of valuable Native American ...
From the winner of the National Book Award for Fiction, 2012 comes this elegantly crafted novel that explores the strange power that lost children exert on the memories of those they leave behind When Faye Travers is sent to appraise a family estate in a small New Hampshire town and comes across a forgotten set of valuable Native American artefacts, she is not surprised by the discovery. However, she is shocked when she finds a rare drum - particularly because without even touching the instrument she hears its deep resonant sound. Following the discovery, we trace the drum's passage both backwards and forwards in time. We hear the voice of Bernard Shaawano, an Ojibwe, who tells of how his grandfather created the drum after years of mourning his younger daughter's death and how it changes the paths of those who cross it. Through Faye, we experience her anguished relationship with a local sculptor who also mourns the loss of a daughter, and witness the life Faye has made alone with her mother, in the shadow of her sister's death. Erdich poetically captures the intricate, transformative rhythms of human grief that these losses create within her characters with grace, wit, captivating prose and surprising beauty.
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Publishers Weekly, 2005-06-27 Though Erdrich's latest lyrical novel returns to Ojibwe territory (Four Souls; Love Medicine, etc.), it departs from the concentrated vigor of her best work in its breadth of storytelling. Erdrich essays the grief that comes when the sins of parents become mortal for their children. Native American antiquities specialist Faye Travers, bereaved of her sister and father, ambivalently in love with a sculptor who has lost his wife and loses his daughter, stumbles onto a ceremonial drum when she handles the estate of John Jewett Tatro, whose grandfather was an agent at the Ojibwe reservation. Under its spell, she secrets it away and eventually repatriates it to that reservation on the northern plains-the home of her grandmother. The drum is revived, as are those around it. Gracefully weaving many threads, Erdrich details the multigenerational history surrounding the drum. Despite her elegant story and luminous prose, many of the characters feel sketchy compared to Erdrich's previous titans, and several redemptions seem too pat. But even at low voltage, Erdrich crafts a provocative read elevated by beautiful imagery, as when children near death fly off like skeletal ravens. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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