Literary Award Winners Fiction Book Club discussion

Love Medicine (Love Medicine, #1)
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Past Reads > Love Medicine by Louise Erdrich: Pages 1 to 129

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George (georgejazz) | 459 comments Mod
Please comment here on Love Medicine by Louise Erdrich, pages 1 to 129.

George (georgejazz) | 459 comments Mod
I found the following discussion questions on
"1. The novel deals extensively with the love-hate relationships between family members. What are some of the different kinds of familial bonds, positive and negative? What themes are explored through these relationships? What does this novel suggest about the nature of families?

2. One theme of the novel is the unavoidable impact of the non-Indian world (for instance, Catholicism, alcohol, intermarriages, the Vietnam War, capitalism, the legal system) on the Chippewa. How does the interaction with outsiders affect specific characters? What does the novel suggest about the difficulties and consequences of dealing with a mixed world?

3. Why do you think Erdrich chose to write her novel in the way she did, using time leaps and a series of different narrators to recount their own tales? What do you think is gained by this form of narrative? How might the form's emphasis on individual storytelling relate to the novel's larger themes?

4. Why do you think the section "Love Medicine" was chosen as the title story of the novel? Would you have chosen another section on the basis of a strength or unifying theme?"

George (georgejazz) | 459 comments Mod
This book of linked short stories is an interesting read. It's about two Red Indian families on a North Dakota reservation, following the lives of a number of individuals in the two families from 1934. It's a sad and in parts, funny read. The stories include issues of illegitimacy, alcoholism, prison and unfulfilled dreams. The stories propel the reader along. A very good thought provoking read.

Carol (caroltw) I'm going to admit to a bit of frustration with the narrative style, although I do like the fact that the constantly changing narrative focus is preventing me from locking each character into a box, which could be the point. This same changing focus, however, has me confused about who's who. I think I would be having a different reading experience if I had a chunk of a few hours to dedicate. Perhaps this is not the book to read with just a bit of time here and there to devote to it.

My first experience with Erdrich was reading The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse - perhaps already ten years or more ago. I loved this book...amazing characters & language, & a bit of a spiritual/mystical 'air' as well - at least, as I remember it from this distance.

I suppose I could continue on as I have time, reading them a a series of short stories. I think a family chart of Kashpaws and Nanapushes might help right about now : )

George (georgejazz) | 459 comments Mod
I too found it a little hard to follow where each character fitted into the overall picture. By the end it comes together okay. A family chart would have been useful.

I found I couldn't sympathise with any of the characters. Could you sympathise with any of the characters? If so, which ones and why?

Yes, The Last Report was a very good from what I remember of it.

Carol (caroltw) I can sympathize with Zelda's daughter Albertine. I think Erdrich captures the misery of being the daughter of a narcissistic mother.

Mary (maryingilbert) | 67 comments Am struggling with this book, mainly because of the different narrators and the non-linear sequence of their stories. So much despair and alcoholism. I can empathize with most all the characters.

Mary (maryingilbert) | 67 comments After I wrote my comment above, I decided to google the character list of this novel and -- eureka I found a genealogy tree!

Carol (caroltw) Mary, Brilliant! Thanks. I found it.

Irene | 524 comments I finally started this last night. June has been crazy busy and it is not getting any easier in the final week.

Carol (caroltw) Hi, Irene. I'm still reading...start was hard for me, but then I got into the rhythm. Her turns of phrase are sometimes very beautiful.

Irene | 524 comments I am half way through, up to page 200 and really enjoying it. I think her ability to portray complex characters and complex relationships is fantastic. It is very dark, but also very real. I am not having the difficulty of keeping the characters straight, for the most part.

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