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Tracks by Louise Erdrich
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May 30, 11

Read in May, 2011

“We started dying before the snow, and like the snow, we continued to fall.” So begins Louise Erdrich’s Tracks, a novel which charts the lives of a native people over ten years as the boundaries of personal and physical territory slowly erode.

Erdrich is a literary mystic. Tracks is told through alternating narrators: first by Nanapush, an older, charming character who recounts the deterioration of his people and land, and by Pauline, an orphan who slowly descends into religious fanaticism and madness. At the center of both their stories is Fleur Pillager, a haunting and spirited woman who withstands the hardships of an often times unfair life. Erdrich’s prose is brilliant—earthy, musical, simultaneously tragic and hilarious. Her imagery, characterization, and stylistic technique share similarities with Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Isabel Allende, and Toni Morrison. As in their novels, Erdrich’s world is one in which the living can summon the dead, where lovers build up and break down one another in the matter of a conversation, and where magic is threaded tightly into the fabric of life.

Many of these chapters originally appeared as stories in print magazines before being expanded. Chapter 5, a longer version of her original story “Snares,” is a masterpiece, full of action and gusto.

I cannot recommend Tracks enough. It is perfect in every way, and has guaranteed that I will be returning to Erdrich’s writing in the very near future.
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Andrea (new)

Andrea Vera What would you say is the theme in this story? Iv'e heard all different sorts of answers such as "love" and "loss". What do you think?


message 2: by Catapult (new) - added it

Catapult In your review, I agree with how Tracks is portrayed; the novel was nicely written and the characters have interesting backgrounds as well. But also, it gets complicated with Pauline's side of the novel with her magic influence. Other than that, I belieava that Erdrich's novel was well described and written.


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