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Epic Novel?

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Leah After finishing this book, I've decided that it felt much more like an epic than I was expecting. After reading Round House (which is phenomenal, but very different) I was expecting a much more straight-forward story, which this book is NOT (even though I liked it very, very much).

I was left feeling like this book could have been several separate books, because the connection between the stories wasn't always very important. Even the style of writing during Marn's sections was different than Evelina.

I guess what I'm saying is that if someone asked me "what is that book about?" I wouldn't have a very good answer. What was the biggest take-away for others?

Cynthia Among other things, how events that happened generations ago shape and resonate in the lives on those now living.

Hazel Benson I had the same feelings about this book being quite an epic and a collaboration of stories hung loosely together. When it was discussed at my book group, someone noted the bibliography references to magazine articles and short stories that make up a history for the northern native americans. I think these were used to weave the complex web the writer put together. I loved it though. It was beautifully written and in parts really funny. I loved the character Mooshum and his brother's story. They were such wonderful characters. The funeral episode was just brilliant. The weakest part for me was Evelina's narrative, particularly her time spent in the hospital. It just didn't hold my attention like some of the other stories. After the terror of the hanging and the journey for territory in perishing conditions, Evelina's tale seemed unimportant somehow.

Kathy Louise Erdrich is my favorite living writer (Virginia Woolf being my favorite among the deceased). I agree with Cynthia that what happened in the past influenced the present lives of the characters. Erdrich's plots are rarely linear. The present and the past are intertwined so that time is circular more than linear. The racism and, yes, even genocide that occurred during the time of the westward expansion of the United States still resonates with the Native people. I highly recommend any of her novels. She is a brilliant writer!

Deborah Farquhar Absolutely an epic novel. I have read all Erdrich's books. Probably my favorite is The Last Report of the Miracles at Little No Horse.

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