Past and present combine in a contemporary tale of love and betrayal from Louise Erdrich, winner of the National Book Award for Fiction, 2012 'Everything is all knotted up in a tangle. Pull one string of this family and the whole web will tremble.' Rozin and Richard, living in Minneapolis with their two young daughters, seem a long way from the ...
Past and present combine in a contemporary tale of love and betrayal from Louise Erdrich, winner of the National Book Award for Fiction, 2012 'Everything is all knotted up in a tangle. Pull one string of this family and the whole web will tremble.' Rozin and Richard, living in Minneapolis with their two young daughters, seem a long way from the traditions of their Native American ancestors. But when one of their acquaintances kidnaps a strange and silent young woman from a Native American camp and brings her back to live with him as his wife, the connections they all hold to the past rear up to confront them. Soon the patterns of their ancestors begin to repeat themselves with truly tragic consequences. No one is better placed than Louise Erdrich to chronicle the Native American experience. Shrouded in myth and steeped in imagery, this is also a tale of heartbreaking realism which manages to retain a warm and irrepressible humour and belief in the resilience of the human spirit.
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An interesting book but I found it hard to get into which is probably just me. Louise Erdrich at her usual best.
Jan 5, 2012
I first read this book for a Native American literature class at the U of AZ. I purchased to reread at a more leisurly pace and found it more rewarding. Thanks to Dr. Washburn for explaing the symbology and helping me to appreciate Native writers. I was fond of Almost Soup and his place in the book.
Mar 24, 2010
Funny and sad
"The Antelope Wife" is a very fluid narrative that is heavily steeped in magical realism. I found the characters especially engaging, despite the fact that the book jumped between several generations and points of view. A soldier finds he is able to nurse an orphan child, and later his own son. A trader abducts a woman he desires who is part antelope, but this act brings no alleviation of his longing for her.
As usual, Erdrich's prose is the big selling point for me. Her imagery just melts over the mind. I can be at the laundromat, surrounded by humming machines and TVs turned to cable news, and I will still find myself removed to the settings she describes.
At the same time, the book had extremely funny moments, making for a really potent mixture of heartbreak and hilarity that is found in real life.
This is a great book full of great stories and a wicked sense of humor.
Publishers Weekly, 1998-02-09 "Family stories repeat themselves in patterns and waves, generation to generation, across blood and time." Erdrich (Love Medicine, etc.) embroiders this theme in a sensuous novel that brings her back to the material she knows best, the emotionally dislocated lives of Native Americans who try to adhere to the tribal ways while yielding to the lure of the general culture. In a beautifully articulated tale of intertwined relationships among succeeding generations, she tells the story of the Roy and the Shawano families and their "colliding histories and destinies." The narrative begins like a fever dream with a U.S. cavalry attack on an Ojibwa village, the death of an old woman who utters a fateful word, the inadvertent kidnapping of a baby and a mother's heartbreaking quest. The descendants of the white soldier who takes the baby and of the bereaved Ojibwa mother are connected by a potent mix of tragedy, farce and mystical revelation. As time passes, there is another kidnapping, the death of a child and a suicide. Fates are determined by a necklace of blue beads, a length of sweetheart calico and a recipe for blitzkuchen. Though the saga is animated by obsessional love, mysterious disappearances, mythic legends and personal frailties, Erdrich also works in a comic vein. There's a dog who tells dirty jokes and a naked wife whose anniversary surprise has an audience. Throughout, Erdrich emphasizes the paradoxes of everyday life: braided grandmas who follow traditional ways and speak the old language also wear eyeliner and sneakers. In each generation, men and women are bewitched by love, lust and longing; they are slaves to drink, to carefully guarded secrets or to the mesmerizing power of hope. Though the plot sometimes bogs down from an overload of emotional complications, the novel ultimately celebrates the courage of following one's ordained path in the universe and meeting the challenges of fate. It is an assured example of Erdrich's storytelling skills. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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