A beautifully repackaged reissue of the magical novel from Louise Erdrich, winner of America's prestigious National Book Award for Fiction in 2012. On a cold spring morning in 1932, two children, Karl and Mary Adare, leap from a boxcar. Orphaned in a most peculiar way, Karl and Mary have come to Argus, in the heart of rural North Dakota, to seek ...
A beautifully repackaged reissue of the magical novel from Louise Erdrich, winner of America's prestigious National Book Award for Fiction in 2012. On a cold spring morning in 1932, two children, Karl and Mary Adare, leap from a boxcar. Orphaned in a most peculiar way, Karl and Mary have come to Argus, in the heart of rural North Dakota, to seek refuge with their aunt Fritzie. So begins an exhilarating tale, spanning some forty years and brimming with unforgettable characters: ordinary Mary, who causes a miracle; seductive, restless Karl, who lacks his sister's gift for survival; Celestine James, Mary's life-long friend; and Celestine's fearless, wild daughter Dot - the Beet Queen.
Novels like 'The Beet Queen' exist to make the reader uncomfortable. They probe at your hurt spots like a tongue pushing a sore tooth. By showing the weaker, more petty, angrier sides of her characters, Erdrich leads the reader to seek out the good parts for themselves. This novel is about the emotional ties from which we try to flee. However, they are called "ties" for a reason, and the flailing that drags a person back as they reach the emotional end of that tether is essentially what composes a life.
The plot revolves around Karl and Mary Adare, who have been abandoned by their mother. They travel by boxcar to their Aunt and Uncle's place in North Dakota, and are immediately separated when Karl, frightened by a dog, runs back to the train, and Mary runs in the opposite direction, towards the town. From there it follows their fractured lives as they rebuild them, alternately swallowing up or running up against the people in their periphery.
This book can be difficult reading at times, but it is very honest, even as it seems to extend past the bounds of "normal" unpleasantness. I'm not sure everyone would enjoy this book, but anyone who likes reading about deeply drawn characters might get a lot out of it. For my part, I am glad to have read it, even if the difficulty of the personalities lead to some infuriating reading.
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