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Four Souls (Love Medicine)

3.9  ·  Rating details ·  3,038 Ratings  ·  277 Reviews
This small but incredibly rich chapter in Erdrich's ongoing Native American saga is a continuation of the story of the enigmatic Fleur Pillager, begun in Tracks (1988).

Four Souls begins with Fleur Pillager's journey from North Dakota to Minneapolis, where she plans to avenge the loss of her family's land to a white man. After a dream vision that gives her a powerful new na
Paperback, 226 pages
Published July 5th 2005 by HarperCollins Publishers (first published June 22nd 2004)
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Stephen According to Beidler and Barton Reader's Guide to the Novels of Louise Erdrich, the main action begins in or around 1919 on the un-named reservation…moreAccording to Beidler and Barton Reader's Guide to the Novels of Louise Erdrich, the main action begins in or around 1919 on the un-named reservation and ends back on the reservation around 1933. Minneapolis is the setting in the interval . A back story begins, says the Guide, around 1870, when Anaquot (AKA Four Souls) survives what seems a fatal illness thanks to her mother's healing powers. Anaquot when she grows up will be the mother of Fleur Pillager(less)
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Community Reviews

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Oct 04, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: damngoodread
First of this review is basically 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 go in or
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
Neal Adolph
A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of finishing another novel by Louise Erdrich. Sadly, I am only just now getting a chance to sit down and work through the wizardry of her work. As expected, I am coming away with a good deal more admiration for her work. Erdrich, I think I have said elsewhere, is one of my favourite writers, and the collection of personalities and timelines and events that she has made in her large number of interconnecting works is nothing short of incredibly impressive.

This b
Aug 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-nations
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

For better or for worse, I've committed myself to the career path of reading and writing about reading and reading about writing about reading and forever and anon, which at times simply means that I'll become increasingly more nit picky and increasingly better at defining the context of said nit pickiness. Politically speaking, I weed out bigotry. Narratologically speaking, I weed out tropes, especially the ones that take reality and normalize the points that bend and break and bleed the i
Dec 31, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
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
Dec 19, 2012 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
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
Maggie K
Oct 14, 2012 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
Jul 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
She threw out one soul and it came back hungry.

With the fascination I have for Louise Erdrich and the reservation world she has created in her work, I am most probably a biased reader. There simply isn't a book of Erdrich's I haven't enjoyed and loved so far. For those who've read Four Souls without reading any of her earlier books, it might be hard to understand what the fuss is all about. For those who have already read some of her previous work (especially Tracks) this book might resonate ver
Allie Riley
Mar 14, 2013 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
Jul 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Absolutely astonishing. The first novel I've read by Louise Erdrich and won't be the last. It retains its poetry, subtlety and profound beauty within a clear-sighted and readily comprehensible narrative. I can't recommend it enough. It reminded me of Marquez at his very best.
Ron Charles
Dec 15, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For better or for worse, most white people have two popular avenues of contact with native Americans: casino gambling or Louise Erdrich. My money's on Erdrich, with whom the odds of winning something of real value are essentially guaranteed.

The daughter of a Chippewa mother and a German-American father, this Minnesota author won critical and popular success with her first novel, "Love Medicine," in 1984. Since then, through a steady accumulation of beautiful, often funny books set around an Ojib
Vince Tuss
More like 3.5. I was on the fence about it until the last 30 or 40 powerful pages.
Shannon Appelcline
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
M 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
Jul 25, 2011 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
Nov 28, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not my favorite of her marvelous books but the one I've most recently read after a jag of LaRose, The Roundhouse and Plague of Doves. Fantastic and fantastical opening with a healing that leads to a revenge trek. A second narrative, about Nanapush and his machinations I did not like so much. He was just too kooky. I need to read Tracks now.
Edward Rathke
Mar 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A much more focused novel than the Master Butcher's Singing Club, which makes it generally better. At the same time, it never reaches the same high notes as Master Butcher's Singing Club. But, yes, this novel is solid. It's heartbreaking and hilarious and sometimes kind of petty.

It's the story of a woman as seen and described by two other characters who are as different from one another as they are from Fleur. The parts of their narratives devoted to Fleur are the weaker parts of the book, too.
Kat B.
Jul 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another stunning work by Erdrich, though the storyline wasn't as connected and clear as I normally enjoy, it really came together in the end. A book I would love to discuss with others!
Kristin Boldon
Nov 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, 2017
A worthy companion to Tracks, and a continuation of Fleur Pillager's tale, told by those who love and fear her. Full of love, loss and humor, some of it bawdy--hurray for Nanapush and Margaret.
Jan 08, 2012 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 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 07, 2008 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
Mar 23, 2010 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
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 05, 2012 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
Jun 05, 2012 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
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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
More about Louise Erdrich...

Other Books in the Series

Love Medicine (7 books)
  • Love Medicine
  • Tracks
  • The Bingo Palace
  • Tales of Burning Love
  • The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse
  • The Painted Drum

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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.” 63 likes
“For what is a man, what are we all, but bits of time caught for a moment in a tangle of blood, bones, skin, and brain? She was time. Mauser was time. I am a sorry bit of time myself. We are time’s containers. Time pours into us and then pours out again. In between the two pourings we live our destiny.” 3 likes
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