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Four Souls

3.90  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,503 Ratings  ·  220 Reviews

After taking her mother's name, Four Souls, for strength, the strange, compelling Fleur Pillager walks from her Ojibwe reservation to the cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul. She seeks restitution from and revenge on the lumber baron who has stripped her reservation. But revenge is never simple, and her intentions are complicated by her dangerous compassion for the man wh

Kindle Edition, 240 pages
Published (first published June 22nd 2004)
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Nov 17, 2011 Rod rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: damngoodread
First of this review is basically a review of everything Louise Erdrich has written. This book is amazing and its spiral, we'll-get-there-when-we-get-there method of storytelling is storytelling at its best.

Let me just end this review with a booklover's highest praise- after reading this book i went to the library and checked out everything by this auther and have now read half of her books. So far none of them have disappointed. They don't have to be read in order, but if I did it over I would
Jennifer (aka EM)
This is a story of revenge. Anger and bitterness tempered by love. Turned into love. Unlikely love. Hilarious love. A mother's love. Spirit love. When everything fails, when everything is lost there is still love.

Only Erdrich writes this way...putting slapstick side by side with mysticism. Describing earthy vulgarities and cruelties in poetry.

The last couple of pages are filled with lyricism summarizing individual and cultural loss so perfectly, with such pain and grace.

Long live Louise Erdri
Of all the stories that have been told on this little globe we inhabit, there are few tales that entice me more than stories of revenge and retribution. I'm not talking the brooding tales of violent stoic men pushed beyond their limit by an underworld that destroys their single shot at happiness, but vengeance that takes plotting, manipulation and, most importantly, patience. While there's always room for a grim-faced avenger tossing murderous thugs through plate glass windows, the revenge stori ...more
Jan 04, 2014 Trisha rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Louise Erdrich has created a fictional Ojibwe Indian reservation somewhere in North Dakota populated by a cast of complex characters who we meet again and again as the threads of their stories are woven into a series of interconnected novels that take place over a wide span of years. The problem is, it can be difficult to know where to start in order to read them in chronological order. Maybe it’s not all that necessary since the narratives swirl around and around from book to book like smoke fr ...more
Elizabeth (Alaska)
Yet another fine novel from Louise Erdrich. Her novels are not exactly a series, but the characters do repeat. This one especially is better enjoyed if at least a few of the earlier ones are read first. Though not required, reading The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse gives some background that the reader would appreciate having.

There are 3 narrators: Nanapush, Emily Elizabeth, and Margaret. Margaret has only a couple of chapters toward the end, but she fills in admirably some of t
Allie Riley
Mar 15, 2013 Allie Riley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thoroughly enjoyed reading "The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse" by the same author, as my review of that novel demonstrates. I enjoyed it so much, in fact, that I was unaware that I was missing anything. Until it was pointed out by the existence of this, her next novel. It follows the story of Fleur Pillager and what happened to her when she left the reservation for the city, seeking out the man who stole her land. She may have set out intent on revenge, but what happens is per ...more
Maggie K
Dec 06, 2012 Maggie K rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: native
I really love Erdrich's writing...the way she can really capture the angst and beauty of life on a rez....

In this installation of her related novels...we follow Fleur Pillager as she heads to Minneapolis with her ancestor's bones to seek revenge upon the white man who stole her trees...although she accomplishes exactly what she plans, did she win? What is vengeance? and don't all humans change so much throughout their lives that what seems like vengeance at one moment can simply be a trap for yo
Jan 01, 2013 Wavelength rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Louise Erdrich’s style of, “stories that branch off and loop back and continue in a narrative made to imitate the flowers on a vine,” challenge and delight me. Four Souls is the most straightforward narrative I have read to date. Fleur Pillager, who I met in Last Report of the Miracles at Little No Horse, walks the train tracks to Minneapolis to seek revenge on the lumber baron who, “had taken the land from so many, it was impossible to remember just who they were.” Her adopted father, Nanapush, ...more
Mar 28, 2010 Traci rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fleur Pillager sets out to avenge the theft of her land. She takes her mother’s name, Four Souls. She becomes the laundress in the family home of the land baron who robbed her family. She cures the ailing mogul, because she wants him healthy and strong minded when she kills him. In her close contact with Mauer, she seduces and is seduced by him.

The most fascinating aspect of this narrative is the fact that Four Souls does not tell her own story. Nanapush, an elder tribesman and Polly, the gentee
Jul 25, 2011 Karima rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
THIS is Louise Erdrich at her best! This book follows the bestselling TRACKS,which I have not read but plan to do so in the near future.
It begins with Fleur Pillager, on the road, literally. Fleur, a young Ojibwe woman is walking from her native North Dakota to Minneapolis, MN., to find, and kill, the man who stole her family's ancestral land. It is a story of revenge, and a reminder that it is a dish not served cold.
The story has three narrators (not one of which is Fleur)which can be a bit con
Shannon Green DesRoche
I’m on a bit of a Louise Erdrich kick right now. I read Tracks many years ago, but never Four Souls. While looking through available titles at my library I found a double audiobook set, containing both novels. Oh my goodness, I am now in love with hearing Ms. Erdrich’s lyrical writing read out loud! Anna Fields brings all of the characters to life and adds such a richness to the storytelling. Four Souls, as with most of Ms. Erdrich's books, is thoughtful and thought provoking, heartfelt and hear ...more
Jul 08, 2008 Emily rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a follow up to a previous novel, Tracks, which I didn't necessarily think warranted a sequel but there you go. I read it anyway. It was pretty good.
I guess what makes it work is the fact that the plot line is pretty unexpected given the events of the first novel. The heroine, Fleur Pillager, is a complete badass in Tracks, and arguably, she still is in Four Souls. However, she winds up marrying some wealthy businessman, which if you've read Tracks, will seem impossible. The "twist," whic
Melanie A Florence
I really enjoyed the first half of this book. It started as a native American women from a reservation in Minnesota traveled to the city to seek revenge upon a timber baron who stole and ruined her land. She wormed her way into the household and eventually became the man's wife. Four Souls' story is told through two viewpoints: the eyes of a tribal elder through the eyes of his culture and the sister of the white woman who was previously married to the timber baron.

However, the middle of the bo
Jan 10, 2012 Allison rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really liked this book. But even more, really liked reading this book. It got me out of a reading rut and I devoured it in a couple days. There is not a lot of variety among the authors that I read. They are overwhelmingly white and mostly American or British and they more or less write about the world they know(to my credit I think I read an equal balance of men and women, though I'd have to check the hard facts of my goodreads account). Anyway, Louise Erdrich writes about the people she know ...more
Shannon Appelcline
Jul 05, 2013 Shannon Appelcline rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-genre
Four Souls is the eighth of Louise Erdrich's interconnected Ojibwe books. Though I (re)read the first three in order, I then skipped to this one because Erdrich had originally intended it to be the second half of book #3, Tracks. It was a good choice, because the books are closely interconnected.

Thankfully, this book was also a lot more enjoyable than Tracks. Where the first book was really weighed down by despair and awful things and an unpleasant insane person, Four Souls instead is about brok
Kind of hard to read. Different people describe their perspective of events and it is kind of dry.
That was my first impression. This book needs to be digested slowly. Now that I finished, I want to re-read it so I understand more about the characters in the beginning. There is a strong Native American culture revealed in the book that I've sort of read about in other books, but this one illustrates their emotional culture excellently. I do not understand some parts of the plot, but it makes me t
Four Souls fills in the details of a number of stories that exist in the background of The Last Report of the Miracles at Little No Horse - I'm not sure (unlike No Horse) that it stands alone. It's shorter, less intricate, and therefore less compelling, but there's still an enormous amount to like. Not least among the things I loved was Erdrich's reflection on the big houses in Minneapolis, their legacy as holding the spirits of trees and land from the northern reservations. It's a stinging rebu ...more
Linda K.
Oct 08, 2012 Linda K. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have acquired a taste for Louise Erdrich's writing. She is a master of "show, don't tell." She delves deeply into the lives of characters I met in The Last Report of the Miracles at Little No Horse. She is such an amazing story teller. I hope to retell one of the stories to my World Lit classes as an example of cultural story telling. She has so much to say about the strength of the American Indian spirit, and she does it with a sense of humor. I look forward to reading The Roundhouse. I heard ...more
Lynn G.
I struggled with this book, particularly at the beginning, through at least 50 pages before the story and the characters began to be interesting me. I didn't mind that there were four characters narrating the story, per se, I just found the language of a few awkward, choppy. Later in the book the language became more lyrical, the story somewhat clearer, the motivations more comprehensible. I can't say that I'll be inclined to read a book by this author again. I finally decided on three stars rat ...more
Jul 27, 2012 Claire rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
In this book, Erdrich returns to the reservation of Tracks and other earlier books. This one picks up the story of Fleur Pillager, who has been a mysterious presence in the other books, as I recall. In fact, this book makes me want to reread the earlier/later ones with this knowledge to enrich the reading.

A dual plot progresses in a parallel fashion to become intertwined at the end is a spectacular way. It is rare that a book ends as well as it begins--this one does. The characterization is rich
Aug 22, 2014 Jason rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Basically Tracks: The Sequel. Literally picking up where Tracks leaves off... this addition to the tale of Fleur Pillager is less fantastical than its predecessor but just as moving and maybe even the most accessible (thus far in my reading) of Ms. Erdrich's works. Good stuff. Nanapush, though unreliable as a narrator is an entertaining guide and Miss Polly Elizabeth Gheen was hilarious yet touching, and a welcome breath of fresh air as the alternate narrator of this tale.
Dec 01, 2014 Kim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A sometimes-haunting, often-lovely book about people losing everything, and some gaining something back. Elizabeth's story is hilarious and continually surprising--the end of her narrative was my favorite part of this book. I was really interested in Fleur's arc most of all, though, so while I enjoyed other threads of the story, I often felt impatient to get back to hers. Erdich rewarded me with Fleur's spectacular poker game scene ever near the end.

Also a few passages I liked in particular:

Apr 02, 2011 Mag rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Erdrich is a masterful storyteller. We are at the north Wisconsin reservation, sometime after WWI. We are following the story of the lives of some Native and some immigrant characters. Fluer (the Four Souls) is after her land, but she is both the nemesis of the white man who stole her land, and whom she came to kill, and his slave- she succumbs to him. There is also Margaret and Nanapush- a delightful pair living on the reservation, and a great story of the four of them.
Feb 25, 2014 Nora marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
I started reading this after my mom assigned me a passage to read at her funeral. I got into it (it is a Louise Erdrich, after all), but got distracted by life. I also feel like I don't want to finish it yet because I want to look forward to having that connection with my mom as I read it. It's back on my physical "to-read someday" shelf and now I'm putting it back on my electronic shelf as well. It'll be a read to look forward to when I need it.
Apr 16, 2013 Rose rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Louise Erdrich always offers a lyrical read, usually a story involving Native Americans and their cultural heritage. In "Four Souls", the story is introduced by a caption: "She threw out one soul and it came back hungry". Cloaked in her Ojibwe soul, Fleur matures into Four Souls, through a life of challenge and changes. You will enjoy her journey.
This book continues the story of Fleur Pillager and Nanapush, begun in "Tracks", part of the cycle of books set among an Ojibwe tribe in North Dakota. Fleur goes to Minneapolis for revenge against the man who took her land and its trees and finds something completely unexpected when she begins to work in his home. Her revenge becomes skewed and her life takes a different turn as it becomes entwined with his sister-in-law. This story is also told with many bawdy elements that may be a little tart ...more
Aug 29, 2015 Nick rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spiritual, historical
My only encounter with Native American chronicler Louise Erdrich was the recent novel THE ROUND HOUSE, which mixed genre elements of suspense and mystery with a deep understanding and reverence for the lives and values of the tribal culture. Four Souls is earlier, and tilts decidedly towards the anthropological and away from the Tony Hillerman vibe of Round House. The tale focuses upon the rise and fall of Fleur, name Four Souls in consideration of her ancestors and her own unique place in the r ...more
Jul 26, 2009 Willa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Beautifully written, this book gives you a very moving real sense of life for a Native American woman in the 19th Century and the complex world she lived in and had to deal with. It haunted me for quite a while... you do get inside her head and start to appreciate so much more how much suffering there has been, and still is.
Kae Cheatham
Apr 14, 2011 Kae Cheatham rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Fleur Pillager wants revenge on the white man who stole her land. Ends up having his kid. Many Points of view changes, and a first person who can't be identified.
Oct 11, 2015 Rosamund rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2015
I thought it was really impressive how for a book that's just over 200 pages, it felt like an epic (I've now found out the same characters appear throughout a lot of Erdrich's work). Just 3 stars for now, though, as it didn't really *hook* me - but I am certainly intrigued.

"I had argued about the existence and intentions of the whiteman's God ... but I had never come to grips with the worst scourge ever loaded on us. Smallpox ravaged us quick, tuberculosis killed us slow, liquor made us stupid,
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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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“To sew is to pray. Men don't understand this. They see the whole but they don't see the stitches. They don't see the speech of the creator in the work of the needle. We mend. We women turn things inside out and set things right. We salvage what we can of human garments and piece the rest into blankets. Sometimes our stitches stutter and slow. Only a woman's eyes can tell. Other times, the tension in the stitches might be too tight because of tears, but only we know what emotion went into the making. Only women can hear the prayer.” 53 likes
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