The unsolved murder of a farm family haunts the small, white, off-reservation town of Pluto, North Dakota. The vengeance exacted for this crime and the subsequent distortions of truth transform the lives of Ojibwe living on the nearby reservation and shape the passions of both communities for the next generation. The descendants of Ojibwe and white intermarry, their lives intertwine; only the youngest generation, of mixed blood, remains unaware of the role the past continues to play in their lives.
Evelina Harp is a witty, ambitious young girl, part Ojibwe, part white, who is prone to falling hopelessly in love. Mooshum, Evelina's grandfather, is a seductive storyteller, a repository of family and tribal history with an all-too-intimate knowledge of the violent past. Nobody understands the weight of historical injustice better than Judge Antone Bazil Coutts, a thoughtful mixed blood who witnesses the lives of those who appear before him, and whose own love life reflects the entire history of the territory.
In distinct and winning voices, Erdrich's narrators unravel the stories of different generations and families in this corner of North Dakota. Bound by love, torn by history, the two communities' collective stories finally come together in a wrenching truth.
The Plague of Doves is one of the major achievements of Louise Erdrich's considerable oeuvre, a quintessentially American story and the most complex and original of her books.
©2008 Louise Erdrich; (P)2008 HarperCollins Publishers
"Louise Erdrich's imaginative freedom has reached its zenith - The Plague of Doves is her dazzling masterpiece." (Philip Roth)
"[A]t once mythic and down-to-earth...beautiful, funny, moving, and unexpected." (Elle)
"A multigenerational tour de force of sin, redemption, murder and vengeance." (Publishers Weekly)
This story is full of quirky, interesting charcters, touches of magical realism. This book unrolls across the generations and is a uniquely American tale. The audio version is smooth and easy to listen to.
After reading a mildly favorable review for the book in the NY Times I decided to give it a go. Little did I realize what I was in for. The book is in need of an editor...a junior editor...anyone with a red pen and a bit of common sense. This book is endless. Beyond endless. Tiresome. Imagine a small town inhabited by one-dimensional characters who all sound so alike one another that the reader/listener can't tell one from the other. All they do is rehashing plot twists that could have been borrowed from a daytime soap. The gratuitous sex...what was the author thinking? There are too many options of far better quality to waste time on this "Plague."
While this book contains some wonderfully mythic material, I couldn't get past the delivery. The book jumps from 1st person to 3rd person narrative. It jumps from story-telling to what appears to be reading directly from someone's autobiography of their past.
I liked the characters, but I couldn't love the characters because there was no continuity to the story.
Say something about yourself!
The plague of doves is an infestation of passenger pigeons, and Erdrich made it real for me as never before. Because I had read 2 of the chapters as stories in the New Yorker, and pictured the characters differently, I personally had trouble making this hang together as a novel. The characters and incidents portrayed are compelling, even so. Yes, I'll probably read this again someday.
The story is so uncaptivating that the author must have felt that she had to intrigue us with the sound of her own voice. Her descriptions are tedious and she reaches for similes and metaphors that are, at times, over the top. With more than one narrator, it is sometimes difficult to remember which character is speaking.
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