A stunning novel that explores the things that can complicate revenge - like falling for the man you hate - from the winner of the National Book Award for Fiction 2012 Seeking revenge on the lumber baron who has stripped her reservation, Fleur Pillager takes her mother's name, Four Souls, for strength and walks from her Ojibwe reservation to the ...
A stunning novel that explores the things that can complicate revenge - like falling for the man you hate - from the winner of the National Book Award for Fiction 2012 Seeking revenge on the lumber baron who has stripped her reservation, Fleur Pillager takes her mother's name, Four Souls, for strength and walks from her Ojibwe reservation to the cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul. But revenge is never simple, and she quickly finds her intentions complicated by her own dangerous compassion for the man who wronged her. The two narrators of 'Four Souls' are from utterly different worlds. Nanapush, a 'smart man and a fool', is both Fleur's saviour and her conscience. Elderly, he would like to face death with his love Margaret beside him. Instead, the two find themselves battling out their last years. When Nanapush's childhood nemesis appears and casts his eye toward Margaret, Nanapush acts out an absurd revenge of his own. The other narrator, Polly Elizabeth Gheen, is a hanger-on in a wealthy Minneapolis family, a woman aware of her precarious hold on those around her. To her own great surprise the entrance of Fleur Pillager into her household and her life effects a transformation she could never have predicted.
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The best way to review this book is to quote it: (Time is the water in which we live, and we breathe it like fish. It's hard to swim against the current. Onrushing, inevitable, carried like a leaf, Fleur(Four Eyes) fooled herself in thinking she could choose her direction. But time is an element no human has mastered, and Fleur was bound to go where she sent.) Ms. Erdrich's language is as beautiful and eloquent as the nature to which she refers continually in her work. Ojibewa native, German American, and North Dakotan she has taken a piece of the sky and earth and combined to form a montage of brilliant and sometimes misunderstood characters. It would be nice to know what she said in Ojibewan language in the frontpiece of the book.
Publishers Weekly, 2004-05-10 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) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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