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3.2  ·  Rating details ·  638 Ratings  ·  131 Reviews
A haunting and unforgettable novel about love, loss, race, and desire in World War II-era America. On a sweltering day in August 1942, Frankie Washburn returns to his family's rustic Minnesota resort for one last visit before he joins the war as a bombardier, headed for the darkened skies over Europe. Awaiting him at the Pines are those he's about to leave behind: his hove ...more
Hardcover, 253 pages
Published February 5th 2015 by Riverhead Books
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Carol E. Did you read the book? It becomes quite clear if you read the book to the end.
Lauren Now I've finished the book, but still have no answer on Emma's age. I can only assume it's a miscalculation, and will be corrected in the final…moreNow I've finished the book, but still have no answer on Emma's age. I can only assume it's a miscalculation, and will be corrected in the final printing? (I'm reading a pre-pub).(less)

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3 1/2 stars

This book is about a motley group of people in Northern Minnesota whose lives are forever intertwined from a tragic, violent incident in the summer of 1944. It starts when Frankie comes from Chicago to The Pines, the resort that his parents own/run, for one last summer celebration before going off to the Airforce and then to fight in WWII in Europe. We have his Chicago-based parents, Emma and Jonathan, their longtime Indian handyman, Felix, Frankie's childhood friends Billy, Ernie and
Nov 04, 2015 rated it did not like it
Seems like a half-formed book that didn't get out of draft mode. I was already familiar with author David Treuer after picking up his book 'Rez Life' (which I still haven't read, oops). As part of my Goodreads challenge to clear out my books I thought I'd pick up this fictional tale of his. It's meant to check off the "Culture Vulture" task by reading a book of Native American literature, although it's not on the list of books. Whatever, it's another book out of my pile. :)
Presumably the book i
Lark Benobi
Ok, I really didn't care this I tried to figure out what was going on with David Treuer to have written it, and found this amazing, clear headed review about his intentions:

Everything Treuer said in this interview points to his empathy for the helpless and the victimized. But how could this particular novel have been the result of these very moral, very good intentions? The novel felt labored, as if the author tried a lot of scenes and then disca
Jan 02, 2015 rated it it was ok
Another book that disappointed me. I was very intrigued to see how the author's point of view on the WWII era involving the Indians and Germans. Seeing as to the author is Ojibwe. I thought he would have a great point of view. I got about half way and this was a long fought half way and sadly put the book down. The authors were alright but they did not pull me in. In fact the first half of the story was hazy. I can't remember what happened. The characters are unmemorable. There was not much happ ...more
aPriL does feral sometimes
So, I was listening to NPR. Their critic really liked ‘Prudence: A Novel’. Then, I googled the book and I discovered Washington Post, LA Times, etc. have all reviewed this book. Their literary critics were impressed by it and wrote positive reviews. Excellent. I fired up my ‘Overdrive’ app, logged on to my local library’s website, and I requested that they consider purchasing this novel as an ebook, and asked that I be placed on their checkout list.

A few weeks ago my library notified me they had
Taryn Pierson
This is a quiet book, as quiet as the isolated Minnesota woods that serve as its main setting, filled with all the hurts and fears the characters can't bring themselves to voice.

The book opens in 1952: a woman named Prudence is found dead in a room above a bar. We don't know who she is or how she died. To find out, we'll have to journey back ten years, to the fateful day when Prudence first appeared in the village and her life became inextricably tangled up with Frankie Washburn's.

In August 19
Wendy Cosin
Nov 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ww-ii
The story is set in 1942 and 1952, primarily in Minnesota at a family summer resort and the surrounding reservation community. An accidental shooting affects the trajectory of each of the main characters' lives: Frankie and Billy are young men with a secret relationship; Felix is the tradition-bearer and father figure to both; and Prudence, whose tragic life touches each of them deeply. The story flows well, with each chapter told from a different characters' perspective.

I was emotionally engag
Matt Inman
Feb 24, 2015 rated it really liked it
I really admired this moving, grim, and well-written novel. As I read I was reminded of Alan Hollinghurst's "The Stranger's Child," Gore Vidal's "The City and the Pillar," Ian McEwan's "Atonement," and Annie Proulx's "Brokeback Mountain," and I think that readers who enjoyed those books will find something of interest here. I didn't love some of the characters, particularly Emma and Jonathan, who felt a bit flat and almost distressingly stereotypical, and some elements of the thwarted "love that ...more
Larry Olson
Jan 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A book can make a difference in dispelling prejudice through stories authors create that make us imagine the lives of others. A good story lets you discover people as individuals in all their peculiarity and conflict; and once you see someone as a person—flawed, complex, striving—you’ve reached beyond stereotype. Author David Truer, professor at the University of Southern California, is an Ojibwe Indian from Leech Lake Reservation in northern Minnesota and examines the role of cultural stereotyp ...more
Jul 23, 2017 rated it did not like it
"'Prudence' goes a bit off true, as it were, when it comes to its female characters, who tend to be unbearable, dead or slowly dying. I sometimes felt as if I was reading the novelistic embodiment of Leslie Fiedler’s essay 'Come Back to the Raft Ag’in, Huck Honey!' in which he argues that much classic American literature revolves around the homoerotic bond between a white boy and an African-American or Native American boy who set off for adventures far away from confining women. ... I wondered a ...more
Dec 16, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: r-ng, r-sa
Prudence by David Treuer is not truly a book about World War II, race, social class, an accident, or even the character Prudence, as the title or description imply. Underneath it all, it is a depressing tale, with unlikable characters and unsavory sexual details, about social norms and about a love that does not fit the social norms at the time.

Read my complete review at:

Reviewed based on a publisher’s galley received through NetGalley
May 06, 2015 rated it did not like it
I really was excited about this book: historical fiction, written by a Native Aemerican, about native Americans and white people in northern Minnesota. I was listening to it, and it just was so flat and clunky to me. I wasn't connecting with Emma, who was so condescending toward sher Indian employees and neighbors. So, I stopped and happily began listening to a Star Talk podcast on the physics of Interstellar. Much happier.
Oct 04, 2014 rated it liked it
I was disappointed in this one. It has a ton of potential. It was blurbed by Toni Morrison as being intricate, seductive, and wholly gratifying. I didn't really find that to be the case. It's an ok story that didn't live up to its potential. I'm not sorry I read it. I liked it ok but it's not one I would really recommend.
Jun 04, 2017 rated it did not like it
I think one star is being generous.
Feb 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
Every summer of his youth, Frankie Washburn spendt time at his family's resort in Minnesota. He returns to the Pines before entering World War II and a series of moments lead to a horrendous mistake that haunts all involved forever. This book encapsulates a lot of different issues. There is a beautiful romance between Frankie and his boyhood friend that captures so much of the innocence and scandal of same-sex relationship during that period of time. Frankie also deals with the disappointment of ...more
Apr 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
For the first 2/3s of this book, it felt a little overly complex. But as the it played out, I changed my mind. The choices Treur made to tell the story as he does, pay off. The frequent flashbacks and changes in perspective enhance what is being told.

The book is wonderfully layered. The characters themselves, despite the rural setting, have consequential strata. The Washburns, the locals, the German camp, are all their own layers, and the Native Americans add many more of their own. Some of the
Beautifully written, character-centered novel, but it's really grim with no happy moments. The book emphasizes mood and language. It's a coming of age story that also explores the destructive power of war on people on the front and at home. And then there are the class differences, the LGBTQ angle, and the limited options for Native Americans. The story, told from multiple perspectives, is of a crime committed as Frankie, son of summer people who keep a place in northern Minnesota, is off for WW ...more
Aug 19, 2015 rated it liked it
Set in the woods of northern Minnesota between 1942-1952, a story of loss, lost youth, and unfulfilled love. The Washburn family, from Chicago, own The Pines resort in Minnesota. Jonathan Washburn is a doctor, his wife Emma runs the resort and they have a son Frankie. Felix, an Ojibwe, is a handyman at the resort. Billy Cochran, a young Ojibwe, helps Felix around the property. Prudence and Grace are two Indian girls making their way back to their village in northern Minnesota from school in Flan ...more
Pam Walter
Mar 20, 2015 rated it it was ok
I was very excited to begin this book and really thought I was going to love it, especially since the author is Ojibwe. In fact I may have enjoyed it more if not for personal reasons for many stops and starts.

I did thoroughly enjoy the historical details, with American Indian contribution to WWI new knowledge for me. There were too many variables in each character. I thought I knew Felix, but did not. I had a sense of Billy, which was wrong. I thought Prudence would turn around. Wrong again. In
Mara White
Feb 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
What a stunning piece of work, David Treuer!!
Jan 30, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: disappointed, fiction
It simply wasn't the story I wanted it to be.
Jun 18, 2018 rated it it was ok
• by David Treuer

Overview: ...On a sweltering day in August 1942, Frankie Washburn returns to his family's rustic Minnesota resort The Pines, for one last visit before he joins the war (WWII) as a bombardier... Awaiting him at the Pines are those he's about to leave behind: his hovering mother (Emma); the distant father (Dr. Jonathan) to whom he's been a disappointment; the Indian caretaker (Felix) who's been more of a father to him than his own; and Billy (a half-breed and Frankie's fo
May 20, 2017 rated it liked it
Shared history and shared guilt is, often times, distancing between those who have experienced the same history and guilt. David Treuer explores this, as well as the responsibility it involves, in his novel Prudence. The Washburn family, an upper middle class white family from Chicago, own a resort called the Pines in Minnesota, where they vacation during the summer. On this particular day, the son Frankie comes to the Pines for one last summer, fresh out of Princeton, before joining the Air For ...more
John Benson
Oct 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
I met David Treuer soon after he had finished writing this book and he was giving a reading at the university where I work. I really liked him and his thoughtful way of talking about the book and the Ojibwe people of Minnesota. While he teaches in California, he grew up in Minnesota. His father was a writer, as is his brother. The book is set in northern Minnesota in the years between 1942 and 1952. The book begins with a body being found in a room above a bar in 1952. It then heads back ten yea ...more
Daniel Rowe
Jul 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A truly impressive book full of tragedy and character and some beauty. The shifting narrative style is very effective and the story is one that will not be soon forgotten. So glad I was introduced to Treuer.
Pat Myers
Sep 13, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
A story of desire, loss, and search for connection in a world where race and class are supposedly innocent. It's about the secrets we choose to keep,the ones we can't help telling. And whom and how we are allowed to love
Laura Jordan
Jul 15, 2017 rated it it was ok
Maybe two and a half stars.
Martha Olson
Dec 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
heavy - depressing - well written
Trudy Ackerblade
Jan 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. It told the stories of society's unloved, misunderstood, and marginalized in such a personal and poignant way. Keep writing David Treuer, please.
Katie Pierson
Feb 11, 2017 rated it liked it
Loved the Minnesota setting. Didn't love the story as much as I thought I would.
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David Treuer is an Ojibwe Indian from Leech Lake Reservation in northern Minnesota. He is the recipient of a Pushcart Prize, and fellowships from the NEH, Bush Foundation, and the Guggenheim Foundation. He divides his time between his home on the Leech Lake Reservation and Minneapolis. He is the author of three novels and a book of criticism. His essays and stories have appeared in Esquire, TriQua ...more
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