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The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse

(Love Medicine #6)

4.19  ·  Rating details ·  10,174 ratings  ·  1,180 reviews
This is the story of Father Damien Modeste, priest to his beloved people, the Ojibwe. Modeste, nearing the end of his life, dreads the discovery of his physical identity -- for he is a woman who has lived as a man.
For more than a half century, Father Damien Modeste has served his beloved people, the Ojibwe, on the remote reservation of Little No Horse. To complicate his fe
Paperback, 368 pages
Published 2003 by HarperCollins (first published April 3rd 2001)
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switterbug (Betsey)
If you yoked Faulkner with Garcia-Marquez, and anointed them with the comic hijinx of John Irving, you would experience a sense of Louise Erdrich's poetic, visually imaginative power. She interweaves a traditional pagan mysticism with Catholic catechism, the animate with the anthropomorphic. The central figure, Father Damien Modeste, is a Catholic missionary priest who, since coming to the Little No Horse reservation in 1912, has fluidly blended the customs of the Ojibwe people with the Holy Tri ...more
Jun 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people with spiritual concerns, tribal people, neighbors of tribes, poets, musicians, Chopin lovers
While much has been made about configurations of gender in the novels of Louise Erdrich, Last Report of Miracles from Little No Horse (LRMLNH) transcends earlier accomplishments from The Beet Queen and The Antelope Wife. The unifying aspect of sex becomes the force early in this story that turns the plot back to Tracks, bringing an astonishing depth to a story we thought we already knew.

For those not familiar with the novels of Erdrich, many of the characters in LRMLNH were introduced in earlier

Diane S ☔
Nov 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I just loved this book. Such a wonderful portrayal of Father Damien (actually a woman who finds her life as a priest through very strange circumstances) and the Ojibwa Indians on a Dakota reservation. The prose was beautiful and while the story went back and forth from past to present, Erdrich does such a fantastic job acquainting the reader with all the main characters and their stories this was not confusing to me. I felt like I was intimately acquainted with all of them, and loved reading abo ...more
Jun 04, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: unfinished
I have to admit that I didn't finish this book. I vowed to myself, back when I slogged my way through the insufferable Anna Karenina, that I would never again finish a book just because I had started it -- and I continue to live by that standard. Still, I came very near the end, and my complaint about The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse could not have been repaired in the space left.

What it boils down to is this: for me, Erdrich didn't achieve a genuine internal life for all her
Jenny (Reading Envy)
I was reading the six books in the Erdrich Medicine Readalong but got behind, so almost two months late I picked this one up. I actually thought I might just let it go but Louise Erdrich pulled me back in! Just when you think you know all the story...considering that Love Medicine came out in 1984 and this came out in 2001, the characters must appear to her and demand to have their stories told. This one focuses on Father Damien who is a pretty minor character otherwise, specifically mentioned i ...more
Neal Adolph
I need a chance to catch my breath; maybe I need to learn how to breathe once again; maybe I need to get new lungs. I don’t know. I don’t understand. Last night I was reading this book and then it happened and I wasn’t sure why it had to, it being the ending of the book, and it being, like all things in this book, truly wonderfully beautiful, dark, earthy, coloured with the hues of the prairie sky hovering over a cool lake as the first winds of Autumn move onto the land. This novel is massive in ...more
Allie Riley
Feb 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
"What is the whole of our existence but the sound of an appalling love?" (p355).

Both poetic and magical, "The Last Report On The Miracles At Little No Horse", is a profoundly spiritual book. It consists of the recollections of "Father Damien Modeste" (in reality Agnes DeWitt, an ex-nun who narrowly escaped being murdered at the beginning of the story) of 'his' ministry to the Native Americans on the Ojibwe reservations. Throughout his time there he had written copious letters to the Vatican conc
Apr 04, 2009 rated it it was amazing
It has been a while since I read a book which made me genuinely laugh out loud as I read it and which brought me to tears at other times. This book was one of those types of reads for me.

I have read a few of Erdrich's previous novels and I have enjoyed all of them. In every one of her novels we are exposed to the inner thoughts and dialouge's of her multiple characters. Many of her works deal with the different extremes of love and how one experiences love in its different forms.

From the mount
Aug 20, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
What a beautiful ending for another complex story by Louise Erdrich!

This is a book that twisted my opinions around its premises more times than once. At times preposterous, and at times profound--this tale binds the reader up into its characters' choices. Choices that we don't always agree with, but seem frequently to find ourselves complicit in.

And although sometimes I felt that small plot twists were a bit pat, I found that their weave into the greater tapestry of Erdrich's telling were more
Jan 01, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of mystical realism, American Indian culture, gender issues
This epic spans generations but centers around the life of the fascinating Father Damien. Every aspect of his story is compelling, as are the journeys into the lives of other characters on the reservation. Erdrich deftly balances depth and breadth to create a vast yet intricately detailed and rich web of personalities, relationships, and histories. The tension between Catholicism and traditional Ojibwe spirituality is explored poignantly without demonizing either side.

Erdrich writes with a powe
Sue Bridehead (A Pseudonym)
Mar 14, 2008 rated it really liked it
Another beautiful, moving book from Ms. Erdrich. Probably her most ambitious.

There's some great, hilarious stuff with Nanapush in this book, scenes that I'm sure I'll always remember -- a moose chase gone awry, and a series of very funny resurrections. There are also many beautiful passages about faith, some of which caused me to close the book and think for a while before moving on. For me, that's a sign that a book is working on me at a deeper level than just story.

I'd call this a must-read, t
Nov 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Louise Erdrich’s The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse should be recognized as an American classic: a wonderful and wonderfully told story, full of humanity, humor, mystery, and nuance.
Oct 19, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This was my introduction to Louise Erlich, and I have since read most of her books. Her writing is exquisite. She brings forth the experience of the Native American with great accessiblity and little romance (in the sense of wanting people to be in a way that they actually are not). This story is based on a person that actually existed and fooled everyone in contact with her into believing she was not only a man, but a priest. This is a singularly remarkable book and written with such compassion ...more
Matt Fox
Aug 29, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My experience with this book was one of the most unique I ever had when reading, particularly with one chapter toward the end in which i found myself both laughing and crying, almost simultaneously. I have taught Erdrich's short stories to college survey courses and she was a favorite of my students. The narrative saga of her Objiwe characters continues, specifically in Kapshaw, Nanapush, and Fleur, but you don't need to have had read her previous works to enjoy this one.

The story is definitely
Jun 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Incredible! This book is easily one of the best books I have read in the last five years. Erdrich's prose reads like poetry and her use of language is so elegantly accomplished I often found myself either moved to tears or simply breathless from the impact of her words. Erdrich skillfully prepared each and every word, phrase and sentence before it was placed on the page much like a chef prepares a fine meal- to delight the reader's palate and imagination. I dreaded the end of this book only beca ...more
4.5 out of 5
I am reading Erdrich’s books in publication order. So far this is my favorite.
Something I've noticed going through the reviews of Erdrich's books on here is that she gets compared a lot to William Faulkner. This makes some sense. Like Faulkner's Yoknapatawpha, Erdrich has created her own community filled with well fleshed out characters at Little No Horse. There's a vast and impressive history she's made up filled with multiple viewpoints all along the way. But the author who Erdrich reminds me the most of was Woolf. She's got the same ability to occupy her characters' ps ...more
Dec 04, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Lindsay by: Meghan
Oh, my hodge-podge of immediate feeling! At first I thought it best to sleep on it, write something tomorrow, as sleep tends to ameliorate just about anything, but what the hell.

Is this 4 stars? 5 stars? First, to get my few quabbles out of the way, which may just be my own and no real flaw of the book. This being the fifth-and-a-half Erdrich book I've read, I have been steeped enough in the mythology and history of her Little No Horse/Argus/North Dakota nether regions to know a lot of the skinn
May 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed the book!

It was a fascinating and magical story about an imaginary place and a woman who became a priest at a tiny mission in the far north corner of North Dakota circa 1912. There was a dual timeline from 1996, when the MC was almost 100 years old. Agnes' story before she became Father Damien, was an amazing whirlwind of music, love, tragedy, and loss. The Ojibwe stories and characters were funny, and sad, and cruel and in some cases very endearing.

I both read the text and enj
Apr 27, 2012 rated it liked it
It's been so long since I read Louise Erdrich's first book, "Love Medicine," that when I picked it up after finishing "The Last Report . . . " its pages were yellowed. I remembered nothing of the story but remembered thinking it was wonderful and read her second book, "The Beet Queen" with much anticipation. I found it very grim and stopped reading Erdrich. So when my book club proposed "The Last Report..." I was ready to try her again.

Her writing is still delightful - fluid, descriptive, witty.
Aug 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I found myself chuckling and enjoying this read so very much. The character of Father Damien Modeste is well developed. Found the transition from a nun named Sister Cecelia to Agnes, the live-in common law wife, to Father Damien Modeste fascinating. As she develops her persona as a priest one can't help but smile or chuckle out loud. While she operates as a priest she doesn't fool many of the tribal people who get to know her/him well.

Father Damien takes his role as priest at the reservation se
May 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found this book to be many things for me - at once spiritual and borderline blasphemous, strange and comforting, real and fantasy - and all simultaneously. It is the story of an unlikely priest and the background of how this Father Damien came to be the one to whom all of the native Americans chose to offer their confessions. It is the story of how he came to love those within his Diocese at Little No Horse. It is the story of the many miracles occurring there and of the attempt to find the on ...more
Nov 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
For me, at times, the lyricism of the prose is unfortunately of the type which falls apart upon closer inspection - phrases and sentiments which sound beautiful but which are really almost meaningless. But that is beside the point when the onward drive of the story and the characters is as powerful as this. It is a fast, deeply pleasurable read that I found I did not want to put down at the end of the day. Deservedly widely read and well known, which means there is little need for me to write an ...more
Carl R.
May 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Louise Erdrich’s work is no secret. She’s been one of those rarities among artists--both popular and respected--at least since Love Medicine won the National Book Award around 1993. In ensuing years, she’s built a universe of and constellation of characters comparable to Faulkner’s Yoknapatawpha county. Her marriage to novelist Michael Dorris (Yellow Raft on Blue Water is his best known; their collaboration The Crown of Columbus is a unique piece of historical fiction.) Their good work among Ind ...more
This book is complex, amazing, and frustrating. The story, interwoven subplots, and interesting lives of the characters are so vastly creative and original that at times it bowls me over. Some times I just could not stop reading.

In contrast, it is so strange at times, that I had no idea what is going on and I did not understand some of the native words that are not defined (some are defined, and some are obvious from context, I think I am just too stupid at times). So, sometimes I just put it d
Elizabeth A.G.
Jun 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An extraordinary story by an extraordinary author, The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse by Louise Erdrich is an epic love story that includes and transcends the physical. What perfectly human characters and an appreciation of Nature the author has introduced to the reader. At times laugh-out-loud funny to tearfully sad, the author has created memorable characters and written in beautiful prose. I will be reading Ms. Erdrich's previous books which introduces the reader to characters ...more
Sep 09, 2010 rated it really liked it
Picked this one up at a garage sale because I'd read "Tracks" years ago and liked it. Excellent story set on a reservation around the turn of the last century. Louise Erdrich is a Native American who writes with great humor and eloquence. It was interesting to read this after reading "A People's History of the United States"-- Andrew Jackson's war against the natives not only decimated tribes physically, but found a way, using competition for individual land ownership, to pit one native against ...more
Jan 02, 2009 rated it it was amazing
A must read book, truly original characters!!!! Erdrich is a gifted storyteller who has a seemingly endless well of native / indian characters to draw from. None of her characters ever feel like that...characters in a book drawn to instruct you, instead you fall in love with them, warts and all, and know that they live on even after you finish the last chapter, they just ARE real people. I love all her books, but this one especially captured my imagination.
Aug 17, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I wanted to love this or at least like it as much as another book by this same author that I've read, but I didn't. It was overly flowery for me. I noticed that the most. I did the audio and the narrator had a nice voice, but she couldn't do different voices so it felt like grade school getting a story read out loud.

I liked the story though. It was very creative and well thought out. It was fun to see where it was going, because I never felt like I knew that.
Ron Charles
Dec 15, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Any summary of Louise Erdrich's new novel risks crimping its striking variety and imaginative power. "The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse" is one of those wonderful books that's as memorable for its parts as it is for its whole.

The story returns to the Ojibwe natives of North Dakota depicted in her earlier novels, including "Love Medicine," for which she won the National Book Critics Circle Award in 1983. Although fans will recognize characters from those books, this novel approa
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VOTE!! 1 3 Nov 06, 2018 01:30PM  
You'll love this ...: May 2018 - The Last Report on the MIracles at LIttle No Horse 123 45 Jun 03, 2018 04:05PM  

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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

Other books in the series

Love Medicine (7 books)
  • Love Medicine
  • Tracks
  • The Bingo Palace
  • Tales of Burning Love
  • Four Souls
  • The Painted Drum

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