Set in North Dakota, Tracks is a tale of passion and deep unrest. Over the course of 10 crucial years, as tribal land and trust between people erode ceaselessly, men and women are pushed to the brink of their endurance, yet their pride and humor prohibit surrender. The listener will experience shock and pleasure in encountering characters that are compelling and rich in their vigor, clarity, and indomitable vitality.
A strange and compelling woman decides to leave home, and the story begins. 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. She is seeking restitution from and revenge on the lumber baron who has stripped her reservation. But revenge is never simple, and she quickly finds her intentions complicated by her own dangerous compassion for the man who wronged her.
©1988, 2004 Louise Erdrich; (P)2004 HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.
I cannot recommend these two linked short novels strongly enough. They have the power of lyric poetry, but there's also a strong narrative thread. They deal with broad issues of family and extended family, race, love, fear, revenge, and more specific issues of native land and its usurpation. The politics of gender, race, ecology are dealt with in ways that manage to be comic as well as tragic, and are never ever simplistic. Similarly, the conclusions are poignant and life-affirming. I am (forgive the pun) tracking down the rest of the novels. How come I had read so little of Erdrich's work in the past?
Erdrich wrote TRACKS in 1988 and FOUR SOULS in 2004--nearly two decades separate the writing of these two books, yet, listening to them both, all of that seems purely imaginary in the "real" time of the two novels. Erdrich's writing is finely honed: her characters Fleur and Nanapush will stick with you. Anna Fields does a magnificent job with the narration!
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