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The Bingo Palace

3.85 of 5 stars 3.85  ·  rating details  ·  3,256 ratings  ·  120 reviews
Back on his reservation, Lipsha Morrissey, the illegitimate son of June Kashpaw and Gerry Nanapush, falls in love with Shawnee Ray and is torn between success and meaning, love and money, and the future and the past. 100,000 first printing. $150,000 ad/promo.
Hardcover, Large Print, 303 pages
Published May 1st 1994 by Wheeler Publishing (first published 1994)
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Aug 09, 2008 Gina rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Gina by: Rachel...from whom I swiped it.

Okay no more shouting Alleluias in bold face: let's get down to work: I follow the dictums given to my students eons ago to decipher the novel's meaning. We deconstruct according to five topics:

SETTING: We are somewhere in and around The Dakotas. Fargo is mentioned but the setting becomes very "Pan's Labyrinth" so we are deep i
Elizabeth (Alaska)
Lipsha Morrissey is probably the least likely of all central characters. He is a ne'er-do-well extraordinaire. He sweeps the floors at the bingo palace and is sometime night watchman. But he loves Shawnee Ray Toose and we cannot help but feel for him. Not sorry for him, but want him to find a way to make a life with her. But she's not having anything to do with him - he is a Morrissey for one thing.

The Bingo Palace is so much more than this love story, it's impossible to put into words. I think
Rena Jane
This will go down as one of my favorite books by Louise Erdrich, but it's part of a trilogy, and its so long since I read the first two, that now I want to go back and read them, and put it into context.

Sometimes Erdrich's cultural perspective to keep the story cyclical loses me at the end of her books, but this one made perfect sense. And the strength and determination of absolute, all-encompassing love is beautifully demonstrated in Lipshaw's mother and father, as well as in his own life. Fle
Brittany Wilmes
OK, so I didn't start in the best place when choosing an introduction to Erdrich, but it was her only tome on the shelves of my local library. Erdrich's writing is lovely and generous and wild, evoking a people and a way of living that I can only wistfully imagine. I loved her characters' stubborn faults, their ability to imagine and strive and stumble within their limits, and their rich, wild language of love.

Her writing sometimes made me nervous (for all the ways hearts can leap and bolt and t
Nov 04, 2010 Matt rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Matt by: Laura Furlan
Required reading for Am. Ind. Lit., Prof. Laura Furlan, UMASS-Amherst.

Erdrich is good. I'd only read "Love Medicine" before this, and didn't remember enjoying it as much as this, but I was probably just being a wiener when I read "Love Medicine".

I was surprised with all the comparisons Erdrich gets to Faulkner, but I see it, and agree with it in the sense of creating a fictional place and characters and using them across a decade plus of novels.

Erdrich is really funny. Legitimately funny novels
Very boring indeed! I struggled through the first forty pages, where too many different characters were introduced and then sort of left hanging. Thereafter, most of the book was about a young man who got infatuated by a girl. This part was really dragged out and nothing much happened. Then the end section reverted back to all the other people who had been introduced at the outset.

Technically, the problem with the book was that it was disjointed, that the main protagonist was not in the least b
You know, I think I'm just going to give up on Louise Erdrich. I liked The Master Butcher's Singing Club, and was okay with The Beet Queen and with parts of The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse. But with each of her books, it's a chore for me to read. It takes weeks, if longer occasionally. I pick them up and put them down. Sometimes, I'm rewarded with a line like "In her eyes I see the force of her love. It is bulky and hard to carry, like a package that keeps untying." (The Beet ...more
I have a favorable impression now that I've finished, but in the beginning I really wondered if I would like this. There are so many characters within the first ten or so pages and I absolutely could not keep them straight - especially since they are all inter-related in various ways. As the book went on, I figured out which ones mattered here and ignored the rest, but before I got to that point I did a lot of looking back. I wonder if this problem would have been less apparent if I had read the ...more
I reread The Bingo Palace with hopes of inching it into four star territory. But upon second reading, I still can’t in good conscience give the novel anything but three. The first half of the book is great. It positions at the center of the narrative a good old-fashioned love story that begins at a pow-wow which the author describes wonderfully, where the two protagonists meet and Lipsha develops his all-consuming passion for Shawnee Ray. Erdrich keeps this love story central while she whirls th ...more
The masochist in me has developed a strange yearning for Erdrich when the blistering winter chill starts to scrape St. Louis. Not that this place gets nearly as cold and for not nearly as long as her Dakota climes, but there's such a mysteriously gratifying level of sympathy, longing, and ironic warmth I get out of her world. I think this started when I read most of Tracks one December day three years ago, smothered in blankets next to a drafty window in a former apartment, when my heat had gone ...more
The fourth in a quartet of related novels, The Bingo Palace features Lipsha Morrissey, the son of June Kashpaw and Gerry Nanapush, characters from all of the interconnected families in Erdrich's previous books. The Bingo Palace is the main symbol of the story - a structure planned for a site on an Objiwe reservation - a site considered sacred to Native Americans. The bingo palace is a double-edged sword in that it will benefit the tribe financially at the same time that it will destroy another p ...more
Paula Hebert
in this fourth book of louise erdrick's we are once again taken back to the reservation. this time to watch modern day decendants of the clans, whose lives are so interwoven by marriages that everyone seems to be related. as they try to integrate the present and future, and still somehow honor their past traditions, all generations make decisions that have long term impact. filled with heartache, humor, love and the wisdom of the ages, it's a beautiful story that will stay with you long after yo ...more
*Awakened to the shattered window and rattling black spines of last year's sunflowers.
Louise Erdrich is the most popular American Indian author. She writes about her culture, yet invites the idea that any of her characters could be white American as well.

I found this book very depressing and maybe a little over-the-top feeling sorry for Indian people in general. I discovered this book when I found her short story called "I'm a Mad Dog Biting Myself for Sympathy," which hosts the most definitely sorry-for-myself character.

Lipsha has a father he never knew, who has been in jail,
Andy Miller
This novel continues the story of many of the characters from an all time favorite book of mine, Love Medicine. Like Love Medicine, the novel shifts narratives, the main characters take turns having a chapter being told from their perspective. Unlike Love Medicine, the narratives are told in chronological order.

Bingo Palace did not grab me like Love Medicine did. I have no desire to re-read it, in fact many times I wished I was re-reading Love Medicine instead of reading Bingo Palace.Perhaps bec
Celery Bean
This book made me sick in the way only powerful artworks can...Like that movie Love Liza, or that gambling movie also with Mr. Hoffman. The thought of trading away the most important things in your life, your culture, for a few minutes of gambling thrill makes me afraid for my own life. Maybe I am doing things just as stupid without realizing it, throwing away the things that are most important.
I loved her newer book "The Master Singing Butchers Club" ( or something like that) I found this book too depressing knowing when I got in a few pages that it was going to end badly. So I didn't even finish it and gave it to the Used Bookstore in Ashland Oregon!
Solid storytelling, and occasional bits that can stop you in your tracks:

"We don't know how it will work out, come to pass, which is why we watch so hard, all of us alike, one arguing voice. We do know that no one gets wise enough to understand the heart of another, though it is the task of our life to try. We chew the tough skins, we wonder."

"We knew from sitting in the still eye of chance that fate was not random. Chance was full of runs and soft noise, pardons and betrayals and double-backs.
Lisbeth Solberg
More out-and-out magic in this than the first three; more magic, but still not enough to quell urban development, alas. I've read seven of hers now, but out of order and over many years, so keeping the backstories straight is tricky--just like in real life. I read the last few chapters twice to decide what happened to Lipsha and even now I am not sure. Part of me is flummoxed by what is left untold, though Erdrich includes her "there are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio" caveat to the re ...more
The constant conflict and harmony of love, fate, and choice are what run this novel. As each character accepts a convergence between fate and their own choice, I found it easy to follow suit. There was a certain joy in reading the results of each choice, good and bad. As befit the title, the characters gamble. Lipsha and Gerry gamble when they chase June's ghost into a blizzard, Shawnee gambles when she chooses Lipsha, Albertine gambles when she lets Lipsha go again, etc. Free of reason, their h ...more
I confess to not really understanding a lot of what went on in this book. Whatever theme or narrative arc Erdrich was following was lost on me, especially when I got to the end and found so many threads of the story still hanging. Ending the book as she did can't have been accidental - but I missed the clues that would have made it make sense to me. I need to think on it some more, see if I can't remember things I've missed.

It was, as ever, wonderful to spend time with the people of Little No Ho
Interesting (though not all that surprising!)to find a fellow classmate here.
I just finished reading the novel. While I have enjoyed (for the most part) the assigned reading for the course, I've never read any work by American Indian authors before. Therefore, I find myself needing to change the way I look at and experience these novels. Erdrich's book has been a welcome bit of brain-relaxation - she still makes me think, but writes at a more "all humanity-encompassing" level. Some things are d
Kate Barber
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lipsha Morrissey, what can his people say about him except, "Who he is is just the habit of who he always was, we warned Marie. If he's not careful, who he'll be is the result." Lipsha is summoned home when his grandmother sends him a copy of his father's Wanted poster. He arrives during the Intertribal song at the winter powwow. He sees his cousin Albertine dancing and then can't help but notice Shawnee Ray. And from this moment on he is consumed with her.

But as pure and hungry as his love seem
This is the story of the growth and maturation of Lipshaw Morrisey.

He is the illegitimate son of June Kashpaw and Gary Nanapush. He's summoned back to the reservation by his grandmother, Lulu Lamaratine. Her method of summons is a wanted poster with his father's photo on it.

This effective wake up makes Lipshaw examine his existence. He considers his life with his dead end job, his world of drugs and bleak future. Then he packs his car and heads back to the res.

When he was a child we learn that h
Shannon Appelcline
The Bingo Palace centers on Lipsha Morissey, Lyman Lamartine, and their love for Shawnee Ray Toose. In large part, it's a story of a love triangle. Sad to say, not only was it a boring plot, but the characters were so unlikeable so much of the time, that you really didn't want anyone to get together with anyone else, because if they did they might reproduce!

I felt like the book redeemed itself a tiny bit toward the end, when there were several chapters that were funny (something that's usually a
Louise Erdrich has beautiful writing. However, I did not enjoy this particular novel. I found it very hard to get into. I found myself loving one chapter and disliking the next. This is my second Erdrich novel. I enjoyed the first one much better. I am a fan of Erdrich and will continue to read her novels. This was just a tough book for me to get through, I thought about not finishing it many times, but I really hate not finishing a book once I start. I own a few other novels by her that I am go ...more
Lori Bamber
Louise Erdrich is a poet and philosopher as much as she is a novelist. This book didn't move me in the way that East of Eden did, but Erdrich is the Steinbeck of the American Indian. While her plots move in difficult, unsatisfying directions, I find that certain lines, moments and characters stay with me, almost like a haunting. I don't always want to remember, but I do.
To recap: I stumbled upon Love Medicine in a college course and didn't fall immediately in love or really like it. I somehow amazingly discovered Tracks (in thrift store, I think) which I became crazy for because of the zany characters and realized it was the prequel to Love Medicine. I recently re-read both (in order this time) which was like visiting old friends and becoming fonder of them. I appreciated the prose more as well. I could not contain myself when I found out Bingo Palace.completes ...more
Julia Hazel
Beautiful language to tell an intricate complex story of love and loyalty and ambition and fate. Every sentence was a pleasure to read. I have read four of Erdrich's books, and this is one of two I really liked, along with The Round House. I found it reminiscent of Barbara Kingsolver's Animal Dreams...although I can't put my finger on precisely why.
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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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The Round House The Master Butchers Singing Club Love Medicine The Beet Queen Tracks

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“We do know that no one gets wise enough to really understand the heart of another, though it is the task of our life to try.” 894 likes
“Cold sinks in, there to stay. And people, they'll leave you, sure. There's no return to what was and no way back. There's just emptiness all around, and you in it, like singing up from the bottom of a well, like nothing else, until you harm yourself, until you are a mad dog biting yourself for sympathy. Because there is no relenting.” 40 likes
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