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La reina de la remolacha

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3.89  ·  Rating Details  ·  9,993 Ratings  ·  387 Reviews
On a spring morning in 1932, young Karl and Mary Adare arrive by boxcar in Argus, North Dakota. After being orphaned in a most peculiar way, they seek refuge in the butcher shop of their aunt and her husband. So begins an exhilarating forty-year saga brimming with colorful, unforgettable characters: ordinary Mary, who will cause a miracle; seductive Karl, who lacks his sis ...more
Paperback, 340 pages
Published 2012 by Siruela (first published 1985)
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Jennifer (aka EM)
Mar 24, 2013 Jennifer (aka EM) rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of Erdrich's best - just shy of Plague of Doves and The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse. It's remarkable that this is just her second. Although still episodic, The Beet Queen has a strong narrative flow and a great symmetry to the story that I found most satisfying.

Other things I loved:
- fabulous, quirky characters, including three especially strong female characters (I'm drawing a blank right now whether we meet Mary Adare anywhere else, or Dot - I think for sure the latter.
...more
Zanna
Nov 18, 2015 Zanna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
From the very first page I was reminded why I added all Louise Erdrich's books to my list after reading Love Medicine: the characters. The people who are more fabulous than 'real', the people who Erdrich has not so much created as set in motion and followed, perhaps sometimes in horror, as they behave in ways we (and I suspect she, and they!) did not expect. The sheer exhilaration of knowing these people is a tonic to the jaded reader, and knowing other people always enables me to know myself, h ...more
Julie
There is no one for creating rich, unpredictable, maddening, hilarious and heartbreaking characters like Louise Erdrich. To read her is to study the craft of creating unique voices -- each of her characters, and there are so very many in The Beet Queen -- takes three-dimensional, Technicolor shape in your mind.

Within The Beet Queen are familiar names and faces, such that I encourage any reader to begin with Love Medicine to get the full scope of the Kashpaw history, but it's not necessary to wr
...more
Holly
Jan 07, 2015 Holly rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I loved the first section of The Beet Queen. I was intrigued by the characters, the situations they found themselves in, and their reactions to those situations; I was captivated by the luminous beauty of Erdrich's prose. I loved the beginning so much, in fact, that I figured I couldn't help but love the rest of the book as well.

But I didn't. Rather than develop and grow, the characters seemed to wizen and warp as they aged. Erdrich lavished attention on the minute details of 1960s cooking, but
...more
Sharyl
Jun 30, 2009 Sharyl rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
My latest read is The Beet Queen, by Louise Erdrich, a unique tale, and I must honestly say that I'm not sure how I feel about it.

It starts out by introducing us to Adelaide, a "kept woman," who has three children to a married man. When this man suddenly dies, it is a catastrophe for her, and one day she abandons her three children in a most unusual and surreal way. Those children, Karl, Mary, and a baby boy, end up going three separate ways.

So, in the beginning, anything can happen to these th
...more
Jeanne
Oct 23, 2007 Jeanne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
North Dakota sets the stage for the story of Mary Adare and her friends and family. When she and her brothers are still young, they are abandoned by their mother at a fair. Mary's infant brother is snatched from them at the fair. Left with nothing, Mary and Karl hop on a train and set off for Argus, the hometown of Aunt Fritzie and Uncle Pete and their daughter, Sita.

Mary stays in Argus and grows up in her aunt's house; Karl heads off for unknown parts. Immediately, a rivalry between Mary and S
...more
Ash
It's hard to describe how I really feel about Louise Erdrich's The Beet Queen. I knew when Erdrich included a family tree in the beginning of the novel, that it was going to be intense. That's what The Beet Queen was: intense, unfortunate, and heartbreaking.

The Beet Queen tells different narratives from different point of views during 1932-1971 in North Dakota. Mary and Karl Adare are abandoned by their free spirited mother, Adelaide, and their baby brother is stolen during a fair.

They get on a
...more
Amy
Jun 02, 2008 Amy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: general-fiction, 2008
Recently I read Plague of Doves by Loise Erdrich (her latest novel, click on title for review). Although I enjoyed that book, I liked this more. The set up was similar, each chapter from a different character, however, the characters were more select and the time frame was always forward moving. Moving from character to character was seamless. Although I frequently like this rotating perspective, many writers do not have the skillz to carry it off. Often the pass from one viewpoint to another is ...more
Patricia
Jan 01, 2013 Patricia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Beet Queen confirmed my observation that, in some respects, Louise Erdrich is the "Flannery O'Connor" of Native American literature. Flannery O'Connor's "Gothic" Southern characters and settings revealed life's often dark and grotesque underbelly. Louise Erdrich does much the same with her Native American characters - often born in disadvantaged conditions because the dominant culture has taken their land, the lumber and other resources from the land, leaving them with scraps. Except for a f ...more
Kate LaClair
After the opening of this novel appeared on this year's AP exam, my students wanted to know what it was about, so we looked at the summary on Amazon and also at the one-star reviews. At that point, based on the very odd-sounding plot, they challenged me to read the book.

I've now completed that challenge, and I have to admit it was a bit of a challenge, as this is an odd novel, full of difficult to like characters and strange plot twists. Not the weirdest or the worst book I've ever read but not
...more
Robert Strandquist
This is more of a confession about my neglect than a review of the novel. When Erdrich burst on the broad stage of acclaimed writers back in the 1980's, with her "Love Medicine," I sidestepped and have done so ever since then. Published in 1986, "The Beet Queen" contains flashes of brilliance and attempts at it. My problem was that I could not see the purpose for the multi-narrative structure. Time leaps, narrator shifts functioned more for their own sake than for deepening the story or working ...more
Nicole
"The Beet Queen" is an eloquent and honest portrayal of the awkwardness of our closest relationships and childhood. The story centers around two families, linked through the friendship of Sita, then Mary to Celestine. It is told through the lenses of the three girls, Mary's brother Karl, Celestine's brother Russell, and one or two friends of their family.

"The Beet Queen" begins in the quasi-magical perspective of a child, with Mary and Karl's mother abandoning them at a fair. Their paths diverg
...more
Alison
Feb 21, 2012 Alison rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book. It was a bit hard to get into, because I had been reading a very different kind of book before this. This is a NOVEL, a great American novel, with rich characters that get stuck with you and that make you think about the kind of person you are and the kind of choices you make and how you act towards other people. This is the kind of book that makes me want to write a novel.

I love Native American themes, characters, and plots. I feel it is such a big part of the Ameri
...more
Lisa
Feb 01, 2014 Lisa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is a bit strange. Weird even. Different. Yet I couldn't put it down. And I'm glad that I did read it. Why so different? The style maybe. The characters most likely. A strange group of characters make up this story. Mary, Celestine, Sita, Karl, Wallace, and Dot. Dysfunctional yes. A family of offbeat characters eccentric, different, emotional, loving but not loving, caring but not caring. The story takes place in small town Argus, North Dakota, home of agriculture and not a whole lot el ...more
Jerjonji
Aug 26, 2009 Jerjonji rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: woman-s-lit
Not a sympathic character in the whole book, it's like driving by an accident- you can't help but look. You finish reading because the old gossip inside you won't let you quit, but when you're finished, you think... why'd I read that book anyway. More of character sketches in a setting, full of horrible people you don't want to know, it remains masterfully written.
Sue Jackson
Although there was nothing innately wrong with this book. It was well written and the character development was OK, it just didn't keep my attention. It is a story of a boy and a girl who are abandoned by their mother and travel by boxcar to live with their Aunt and Uncle. The story tells the story of not only those two but of the family and friends that they meet in the small city in North Dakota.

The book started slowly but I was determined to continue and it did improve as Louise Erdrich expla
...more
Catherine
I liked this much better than Love Medicine - so think of this as a 3.5 star review! The Beet Queen is located in something like the same physical space as Love Medicine, but instead of standing on the rez looking out, we're standing in the nearby town, occasionally looking in. There are a handful of overlapping characters, but what makes this book so fresh and alive is that the perspective of the book is so very different from the last. We get a sense of the hostility between town and reservati ...more
Tom
Jan 02, 2010 Tom rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Neve-wed mom Adelaide Adare and her three children, twelve year-old Karl, ten-year old Mary, and infant (who is later named Jude) attend a fair in Minneapolis. Mom abandons the children to run away with a barnstorming pilot. When Jude gets hungry and begins to cry, a man takes the child, promising to feed him and bring him back. He never does, he's kidnapped the baby to assuage the grief of his wife, whose own baby died a-birthing. Karl and Mary hop a train to Argus, North Dakota, where their au ...more
Neill Goltz
Being a North Dakota lad, I've always been pleased with the national stature obtained by Louise Erdrich. Her first novels, including or starting with the Beet Queen, and Love Medicine, came out in the '70s when I was in college, and I didn't have the time to take them on then with what was required of my classwork.

Later, when living in Minneapolis in the '80s and '90s, I read a lot of her work from that period, when she was married to Michael Dorris and before his tragic suicide. This included t
...more
Shannon Appelcline
Like Love Medicine, many parts of this second book were published individually as short stories. However, it's a much more cohesive story than Love Medicine, and I think the whole work really benefits as a result. Yet, it still holds onto some of the advantages of short stories: a number of the chapters (particularly the early ones) have real kick to them. But everything also continually builds on itself.

The structure of the story is also entirely intriguing, as it spirals through numerous chara
...more
Syd
May 15, 2013 Syd rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Louise Erdrich is an amazing writer, and one of her strengths is creating a setting and placing characters within it that seem incredibly human. Each character is distinct and lively, with enough time for each character to feel as though you know them and understand them. No character is completely reviled or loved. Each has their faults and their assets, and in the end they become very dear.
This is the second book written in the style of an extended network of relations and families, the first
...more
Paula Hebert
Jul 23, 2010 Paula Hebert rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have been rereading louise erdricks books, and in this, her second, she really starts to show the amazing quality of her storytelling. two young orphans find their way to their aunt and uncle in north dakota, and even before they reach the door of the butcher shop their lives diverge and they go on to face their fates alone. the story is told by different characters in different times, from their own unique perspectives, and they all join to make this an incredible reading experience. all the ...more
Shari
Jul 05, 2011 Shari rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm glad I read Love Medicine first, because I think it allowed me to appreciate this book much more deeply than I would if I hadn't already fallen in love with Erdrich's writing and the world she has created -- and, as always, it is so evocative of familiar landscapes I've loved and places that have shaped me. (Reading a book like this, along with books like Love Medicine and The Last Report of the Miracle at Little No Horse make me understand why she is so often compared to Faulkner.) There is ...more
Nancy
Jul 18, 2013 Nancy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: contemporary
this is the second Erdrich book in a month and I am sold. (I don't know why I avoided her before!). This book recounts the lives of a brother and sister who are abandoned by their mother and head o ut on their own to live with an aunt and uncle in Argus, ND (the location of teh last book I read, but written earlier in her career. The story is told from multiple points of view - the brother and sister and a number of people who come in to their lives - and is more episodic than unified. But the w ...more
Lissa Notreallywolf
This book didn't inspire me the way Love medicine did, but in part I think that's because I did not read it soon enough after reading Love Medicine. I say that because I don't recall as much about the Kashpaws to make the connections between the town branch and the res branch of the family, how Celestine fits into the world set up by Love medicine. But even as a stand alone this is a good novel, full of perplexing characters. We have to confront a mother who abandons her children, one a newborn, ...more
Sara Smith
Dec 12, 2014 Sara Smith rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In every Louise Erdrich novel I've read is at least one image that becomes etched in my mind. One such scene occurs early in The Beet Queen , when a stylish mother disappears into the sky in a biplane with a dashing stunt pilot (complete with goggles and an orange scarf), abandoning her three children at a fair appropriately called the Orphan's Picnic. The three children soon become separated, although their lives crisscross throughout the novel. The baby grows up without knowing his own story. ...more
Andy Miller
Jul 30, 2014 Andy Miller rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As in many other Erdrich novels, Beet Queen is written in chapter form with the chapters changing the narrative among different characters over a long period of time

The novel starts in 1932,Mary and Karl Adare,aged 11 and 14, have just been abandoned by their mother in Minnesota so they stow away in a box car, leaving behind an infant brother, to go to a town in North Dakota where their aunt lives. Karl and Mary are separated, Karl grows up in an orphanage and Mary stays with her aunt's family i
...more
Pixelflocke
2,5 Sterne
Als erstes möchte ich sagen, dass der Klappentext eine Katastrophe ist. Was dort beschrieben ist, passiert erst auf den letzten 15 Seiten des Romans und ist zu Teilen noch nicht mal korrekt.
Der Roman selbst hat mir auch nicht so recht zugesagt. Es gehört sicherlich Mut dazu, solche Charaktere wie in "Die Rübenkönigin" zu schreiben. Alle Protagonisten sind durch die Bank weg unsympathisch. Wallace ist hier noch so ziemlich der Beste von allen, aber selbst mit ihm wurde ich nicht richtig
...more
Laurel
Oct 22, 2014 Laurel rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Humor that's dark in places and at least a bit dusky in others permeates this story of destructive love, abandonment, survival and subtle insanity. The sins as well as the strengths of the mothers and fathers continue to be visited upon the sons and daughters who pull them forward erratically as they weave the past into the future tapestry.

Here again, Erdrich uses echos of the past, glimpses of characters from previous stories carried forward in time, blending snatches of familiar culture and cu
...more
Marni
Feb 10, 2016 Marni rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Instead of checking my Goodreads Want to Read list, I zipped through the library grabbing books. This book was in the Classics section. At first, I looked forward to reading a bit more every night. But about halfway through, I realized I wasn't getting to know any of the characters. It reminded me of another book I didn't care for: Something with "Butchers" in the title. I slogged through and finished "Beet Queen." Then I looked up "Butchers" on this site and found "The Master Butchers Singing C ...more
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Karen Louise Erdrich is a American author of novels, poetry, and children's books. Her father is German American and mother is half Ojibwe and half French American. She is an enrolled member of the Anishinaabe nation (also known as Chippewa). She is widely acclaimed as one of the most significant Native writers of the second wave of what critic Kenneth Lincoln has called the Native American Renais ...more
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“But then as time passed, I learned the lesson that parents do early on. You fail sometimes. No matter how much you love your children, there are times you slip. There are moments you can't give, stutter, lose your temper, or simply lose face with the world, and you can't explain this to a child.” 7 likes
“For as I am standing there I look closer into the grandstand and see that there is someone waiting. It is my mother, and all at once I cannot stop seeing her. Her skin is rough. Her whole face seems magnetized, like ore. Her deep brown eyes are circled with dark skin, but full of eagerness. In her eyes I see the force of her love. It is bulky and hard to carry, like a package that keeps untying. It is like this dress that no excuse accounts for. It is embarrassing. I walk to her, drawn by her, unable to help myself.” 3 likes
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