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.
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.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful
I thoroughly enjoyed these stories of many different people whose lives are intertwined. I have always loved Erdrich's novels- the way she tells stories. It is somewhat poetic in the way she weaves their lives into words.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
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.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
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."
12 of 17 people found this review helpful
The readers are great. I loved most of it but not the section about Billy, his wife, M. & the religious group. It seemed like it belonged in a different novel. The thing that unites the novel is the murder partially described. But I wanted more development of the characters.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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.
7 of 11 people found this review helpful
Is there anything you would change about this book?
I have a lot of friends who are huge Erdrich fans but I am not. I wanted to like this as much as I liked The Master Butcher's Singing Club but it was simply to convoluted for me to follow. I listen to audio books because I do not have the time to read and maybe this would be better digested as the written word as opposed to the spoken word, I don't know. I tried but at three quarters of the way through, I decided to move on. I never finished it.
What do you think your next listen will be?
What does Peter Francis James and Kathleen McInerney bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?
I really appreciate the narrators of all the audio books - even when the book is less than enjoyable - the narration always seems great!
Did The Plague of Doves inspire you to do anything?
Stop listening to it.
Any additional comments?
This is a densely layered complex story of the interwoven lives of many generations of whites, Ojibwe and mixed in a moribund town in ND. Told through several narrators, and spanning a century, the story is complicated, hilarious in parts, tragic in parts, and always gripping. It reminds me of Faulkner, and as with a Faulkner novel, attention must be paid.
I read this book long ago, and reread by listening. The story is complex and moves about in time and has a number of narrators. But Erdrich pulls the threads together marvelously: the haunting histories become one interwoven tapestry. No one can escape. I enjoyed McInerney's performance of the female narrators more compelling than James's of the male. I'm not sure why but the tremulousness of his voice distracted me at times. Nevertheless, I LOVE the story of that fiddle and would listen to nearly anyone read it.
This is not an idle listening experience. You'll have to pay attention. But the story, or stories, are so worth that attention. Enjoy!
Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?
Erdrich's work is full of humor and wonderful vignettes. They are here, but in a narrative that is perhaps less cohesive than some of her others. If you are new to her work, I recommend Last Report on the Miracles of Little No Horse or The Round House -- even though the latter is somewhat atypical for her for having only one narrative perspective.
Did the narration match the pace of the story?
The narrators disappointed me a bit. McInerney's voice is high and girlish, which doesn't quite work for me as a narrator of this book. James is lugubrious.
Any additional comments?
This book should have been great. I chose it to read while I was visiting the states described in the novel. In parts it was intersting and had potential but I found it very disjointed and in the end gave up on it.