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Four Souls

(Love Medicine)

3.90  ·  Rating details ·  3,357 ratings  ·  330 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
Paperback, 210 pages
Published August 29th 2017 by Harper Perennial (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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Average rating 3.90  · 
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Oct 04, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Jennifer (aka EM)
Sep 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
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.

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 ...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
Dec 31, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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 ...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
Maggie K
Oct 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
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
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
Dec 14, 2013 rated it it was ok
The multiple narrators' voices here are a pleasure as they always are in Erdrich books, but otherwise this was a rather disappointing book by her excellent standards. The fact that one of the secondary plot lines (and several characters, including its narrator) concludes suddenly with a quarter of the book still to go strikes a jarring and puzzling note, but the biggest weakness, which is nearly fatal to the book, is that Fleur Pillager, the central character around which all the plotlines of ...more
Allie Riley
Mar 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
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 ...more
Jul 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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.
Jun 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Houseguest and fever and reading, bad combo. Filling in some Erdrich I missed along the way. As usual, she makes her unique characters come to life. I wish I had been less distracted.
Vince Tuss
Nov 25, 2017 rated it liked it
More like 3.5. I was on the fence about it until the last 30 or 40 powerful pages.
Shannon Appelcline
Jul 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-genre, read-aloud
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
M. A. Florence
Nov 18, 2012 rated it liked it
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
Jul 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Nov 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
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.
Louise Erdrich’s elegant, mellifluous prose seduces us into her Ojibway world peopled by those we’ve come to know well over the years. At the heart of this small tale of revenge and of the unintended consequences of seeking to recover lost land, land the family has been cheated out of, is Fleur Pillager, who we’ve met before in Erdrich’s novels.

As the last living member of a family whose land was acquired by a lumber robber baron in the early years of the 20th century, Fleur – who becomes Four
Apr 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Louise Erdrich is one of my favorite authors and Fleur Pillager is one of my favorite characters that she has created. Four Souls is a linear tale following Fleur as she gets revenge against the men who stole her land from her. This is her journey off the reservation and into white culture and her return to the Ojibwe. Meanwhile, we also get Nanapush's story of his jealousy of his wife and how hard he tries to keep her love as well as saving their land from the government.

One thing I've noticed
Edward Rathke
Mar 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
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.
Melody Schwarting
Oct 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Choosing Four Souls as my Indigenous Peoples Day read was a good choice, because Louise Erdrich is always a good choice. Serendipitously, it followed the events of Tracks, the last Erdrich novel I read. Four Souls is a complex story of revenge, transformation, understanding, spirituality. I feel like I know this world so vividly, details of bark and leaf and stone, that reading these books is like going back to a place I once lived. Erdrich's connection to land, her sense of place, her reverence ...more
Laura Hoffman Brauman
Four Souls is both a story of revenge as well as one of connection. The writing was powerful, the pacing was a little uneven. I found out after finishing that this is one of several she has written about the lives of this particular family and I wonder if the reading experience would have been better if I hadn't come into the books in the middle of the overarching story line.
Oct 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Louise Erdrich does it again. If you've read Tracks, you should read this one, too, and of course The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse. I would've given this one five stars if anyone other than Erdrich had written it; but, in comparison with the other two aforementioned novels, it's just a wee tad less sparkling.
Nov 14, 2018 rated it liked it
I had to read this for my literature class, it was alright. The story didn't really grab my attention and I didn't really like any of the characters although nanapush narrative was entertaining at times.
Steve Shilstone
Nov 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Revenge can not only be a funny business, it can wander a meandering path.
Nov 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
part of Erdrich's Ojibwe saga, two over-lapping narratives, the loss of ancestral lands. Thoroughly enjoyable. 3.7
Kat B.
Jul 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
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!
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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 ...more

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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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