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LaRose: A Novel
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Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award in Fiction

Finalist for the 2017 PEN Faulkner Award

In this literary masterwork, Louise Erdrich, the bestselling author of the National Book Award-winning The Round House and the Pulitzer Prize nominee The Plague of Doves wields her breathtaking narrative magic in an emotionally haunting contemporary tale of a tragic accident, a demand for justice, and a profound act of atonement with ancient roots in Native American culture.

North Dakota, late summer, 1999. Landreaux Iron stalks a deer along the edge of the property bordering his own. He shoots with easy confidence—but when the buck springs away, Landreaux realizes he's hit something else, a blur he saw as he squeezed the trigger. When he staggers closer, he realizes he has killed his neighbor's five-year-old son, Dusty Ravich.

The youngest child of his friend and neighbor, Peter Ravich, Dusty was best friends with Landreaux's five-year-old son, LaRose. The two families have always been close, sharing food, clothing, and rides into town; their children played together despite going to different schools; and Landreaux's wife, Emmaline, is half sister to Dusty's mother, Nola. Horrified at what he's done, the recovered alcoholic turns to an Ojibwe tribe tradition—the sweat lodge—for guidance, and finds a way forward. Following an ancient means of retribution, he and Emmaline will give LaRose to the grieving Peter and Nola. "Our son will be your son now," they tell them.

LaRose is quickly absorbed into his new family. Plagued by thoughts of suicide, Nola dotes on him, keeping her darkness at bay. His fierce, rebellious new "sister," Maggie, welcomes him as a coconspirator who can ease her volatile mother's terrifying moods. Gradually he's allowed shared visits with his birth family, whose sorrow mirrors the Raviches' own. As the years pass, LaRose becomes the linchpin linking the Irons and the Raviches, and eventually their mutual pain begins to heal.

But when a vengeful man with a long-standing grudge against Landreaux begins raising trouble, hurling accusations of a cover-up the day Dusty died, he threatens the tenuous peace that has kept these two fragile families whole.

Inspiring and affecting, LaRose is a powerful exploration of loss, justice, and the reparation of the human heart, and an unforgettable, dazzling tour de force from one of America's most distinguished literary masters.

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Street Date:
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Language:
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ISBN:
9780062277046
ASIN:
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APA Citation (style guide)

Louise Erdrich. (2016). LaRose: A Novel. Harper.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Louise Erdrich. 2016. LaRose: A Novel. Harper.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Louise Erdrich, LaRose: A Novel. Harper, 2016.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Louise Erdrich. LaRose: A Novel. Harper, 2016. Web.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2010. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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        Louise Erdrich is the author of fifteen novels as well as volumes of poetry, children's books, short stories, and a memoir of early motherhood. Her novel The Round House won the National Book Award for Fiction. The Plague of Doves won the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, and her debut novel, Love Medicine, was the winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award. Erdrich has received the Library of Congress Prize in American Fiction, the prestigious PEN/Saul Bellow Award for Achievement in American Fiction, and the Dayton Literary Peace Prize. She lives in Minnesota with her daughters and is the owner of Birchbark Books, a small independent bookstore.

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Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award in Fiction

Finalist for the 2017 PEN Faulkner Award

In this literary masterwork, Louise Erdrich, the bestselling author of the National Book Award-winning The Round House and the Pulitzer Prize nominee The Plague of Doves wields her breathtaking narrative magic in an emotionally haunting contemporary tale of a tragic accident, a demand for justice, and a profound act of atonement with ancient roots in Native American culture.

North Dakota, late summer, 1999. Landreaux Iron stalks a deer along the edge of the property bordering his own. He shoots with easy confidence—but when the buck springs away, Landreaux realizes he's hit something else, a blur he saw as he squeezed the trigger. When he staggers closer, he realizes he has killed his neighbor's five-year-old son, Dusty Ravich.

The youngest child of his friend and neighbor, Peter Ravich, Dusty was best friends with Landreaux's five-year-old son, LaRose. The two families have always been close, sharing food, clothing, and rides into town; their children played together despite going to different schools; and Landreaux's wife, Emmaline, is half sister to Dusty's mother, Nola. Horrified at what he's done, the recovered alcoholic turns to an Ojibwe tribe tradition—the sweat lodge—for guidance, and finds a way forward. Following an ancient means of retribution, he and Emmaline will give LaRose to the grieving Peter and Nola. "Our son will be your son now," they tell them.

LaRose is quickly absorbed into his new family. Plagued by thoughts of suicide, Nola dotes on him, keeping her darkness at bay. His fierce, rebellious new "sister," Maggie, welcomes him as a coconspirator who can ease her volatile mother's terrifying moods. Gradually he's allowed shared visits with his birth family, whose sorrow mirrors the Raviches' own. As the years pass, LaRose becomes the linchpin linking the Irons and the Raviches, and eventually their mutual pain begins to heal.

But when a vengeful man with a long-standing grudge against Landreaux begins raising trouble, hurling accusations of a cover-up the day Dusty died, he threatens the tenuous peace that has kept these two fragile families whole.

Inspiring and affecting, LaRose is a powerful exploration of loss, justice, and the reparation of the human heart, and an unforgettable, dazzling tour de force from one of America's most distinguished literary masters.

reviews
      • premium: False
      • source: The Twin Cities Pioneer Press
      • content: "A masterly tale of grief and love...Erdrich never missteps...The recurring miracle of Erdrich's fiction is that nothing feels miraculous in her novels. She gently insists that there are abiding spirits in this land and alternative ways of living and forgiving that have somehow survived the West's best efforts to snuff them out."
      • premium: False
      • source: Bookreporter.com
      • content: "The rewards of LAROSE lie in the quick unraveling and the slow reconstruction of these lives to a moment when animosities resolve, like shards of glass in a kaleidoscope, into clarity and understanding...Told with constraint and conviction..."
      • premium: False
      • source: Kansas City Star
      • content: "You're going to want to take your time with this book, so lavish in its generational scope, its fierce torrent of wrongs and its luxurious heart. Anyway, you may have no choice, as you fall under the spell of a master... Like Toni Morrison, like Tolstoy, like Steinbeck, Erdrich writes her characters with a helpless love and witnesses them with a supreme absence of judgment...[a] beautiful novel."
      • premium: False
      • source: Providence Journal
      • content: "Remarkable...As the novel draws to a conclusion, the suspense is ratcheted up, but never at the expense of Erdrich's reflective power or meditative lyricism...One of Erdrich's finest achievements."
      • premium: False
      • source: Miami Herald
      • content: "Incandescent...Erdrich has always been fascinated by the relationship between revenge and justice, but...LaRose comes down firmly on the side of forgiveness. Can a person do the worst possible thing and still be loved? Erdrich's answer is a resounding yes."
      • premium: False
      • source: San Francisco Chronicle
      • content: "...a magnificent, sorrowful tale of justice, retribution, and love."
      • premium: False
      • source: Entertainment Weekly, "Best Books of 2016 so far..."
      • content: "[Erdrich] has laid out one of the most arresting visions of America in one of its most neglected corners, a tableaux on par with Faulkner, a place both perilous and haunted, cursed and blessed."
      • premium: False
      • source: Chicago Tribune
      • content: "...[a] sad, wise, funny novel, in which [Erdrich] takes the native storytelling tradition that informs her work and remakes it for the modern world, stitching its tattered remnants into a vibrant living fabric."
      • premium: False
      • source: Publishers Weekly Starred Pick of the Week
      • content: "...[a] superb new novel...[Erdrich immerses] us in this remarkable world so thoroughly, so satisfyingly..."
      • premium: False
      • source: Providence Journal
      • content: "Erdrich's richly layered tale brings a host of fascinating characters to life as it builds to its haunting resolution."
      • premium: False
      • source: Chapter 16
      • content: "Breathtaking...[LaRose] may be her most graceful creation...The recurring miracle of Erdrich's fiction is that nothing feels miraculous in her novels. She gently insists there are abiding spirits in this land and alternative ways of living and forgiving that have somehow survived the West's best efforts to snuff them out."
      • premium: False
      • source: Washington Post
      • content: "Told with aching understanding...This timeless 15th novel stands as one of Erdrich's best: comprehending and comprehensive, full of cascading, resonant details punctuated with spiky humor."
      • premium: False
      • source: New York Times Book Review, front page review
      • content: "Erdrich's created an entire world, a realm bristling with a sense of place, where plots unwind and surprise, the spirit world suffuses everyday existence, and the past is as much a part of the present as breathing...magnificent...It is Erdrich at the top of her form."
      • premium: False
      • source: Entertainment Weekly
      • content: "A powerful evocation of two families' struggle to overcome misfortune.."
      • premium: False
      • source: People
      • content: "...a brutal, ultimately buoyant dramatization of the way unexpected kinships heal us."
      • premium: False
      • source: Booklist (starred review)
      • content: "Mesmerizing... Throughout her body of work, Erdrich has woven complex narratives with rich character detail and the cultural traditions of her Native American background. In LaRose, her greatest strengths are on display as all these strands come together under her masterful control."
      • premium: False
      • source: Buzzfeed
      • content: "Erdrich suffuses the book with her particular sort of magic-an ability to treat each character with singular care, weaving their separate journeys flawlessly throughout the larger narrative, and making each person's pain feel achingly real. All the while, she adds new depth to timeless concepts of revenge, culture, and family."
      • premium: False
      • source: O, the Oprah Magazine
      • content: "A complex tapestry of retribution and acceptance...Ever the master of emotions, Erdrich...incorporates elements of guilt, justice and atonement."
      • premium: False
      • source: Vanity Fair
      • content: "In someone else's hands, this might turn out to be a stark morality tale or a pure tearjerker. In Louise Erdrich's, it's something else...
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        Starred review from January 11, 2016
        Erdrich spins a powerful, resonant story with masterly finesse. As in The Round House, she explores the quest for justice and the thirst for retribution. Again, the setting—a North Dakota Ojibwe reservation and a nearby town—adds complexity to the plot. Landreaux Iron, an Ojibwe man, accidentally shoots and kills the five-year-old son of his best friend, farmer Peter Ravich, who is not a member of the tribe. After a wrenching session with his Catholic priest, Father Travis, and a soul-searching prayer in a sweat lodge, Landreaux gives his own five-year-old son, LaRose, to grieving Peter and his wife, Nola, who is half-sister to Landreaux's own wife, Emmaline. In the years that follow, LaRose becomes a bridge between his two families. He also accesses powers that have distinguished his namesakes in previous generations, when LaRose was "a name both innocent and powerful, and had belonged to the family's healers." Erdrich introduces this mystical element seamlessly, in the same way that LaRose and other Ojibwes recognize and communicate with "the active presence of the spirit world." The magical aspects are lightened by scenes of everyday life: old ladies in an assisted-living home squabble about sex; teenage girls create their own homemade beauty spa. Erdrich raises suspense by introducing another, related act of retribution, culminating in a memorable and satisfying ending.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        December 1, 2015

        Set in 1999 North Dakota, this new work concludes a trilogy begun with the Anisfield-Wolf Award winner The Plague of Doves and the National Book Award winner The Round House. Landreaux Iron is deer hunting when he inadvertently shoots and kills five-year-old Dusty Ravich, son of best friend Pete Ravich and his own son LaRose's favorite buddy. To make amends, the grief-stricken Landreaux falls back on a traditional means of retribution, giving LaRose to Pete and his wife. With a 200,000-copy first printing.

        Copyright 2015 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        Starred review from April 15, 2016
        After accidentally shooting his friend and neighbor's young son, a man on a Native American reservation subscribes to "an old form of justice" by giving his own son, LaRose, to the parents of his victim. Erdrich, whose last novel, The Round House, won the National Book Award in 2012, sets this meditative, profoundly humane story in the time just before the U.S. invades Iraq but wanders in and out of that moment, even back to origin tales about the beginning of time. On tribal lands in rural North Dakota, the shooter, Landreaux Iron, and his wife, Emmaline, trudge toward their neighbors' house to say, "Our son will be your son now." As both families amble through the emotional thickets produced by this act (the wives are half sisters, to boot), Erdrich depicts a tribal culture that is indelible and vibrant: Romeo, a drug-addled grifter still smarting from a years-ago abandonment by his friend Landreaux (and whose hurt makes this novel a revenge story); war vet Father Travis, holy but in love with Emmaline; and LaRose, his father's "little man, his favorite child," the fifth generation of LaRoses in his family, who confers with his departed ancestors and summons a deep, preternatural courage to right an injustice done to his new sister. Erdrich's style is discursive; a long digression about the first LaRose and her darkness haunts this novel. Just when she needs to, though, Erdrich races toward an ending that reads like a thriller as doubts emerge about Landreaux's intentions the day he went hunting. Electric, nimble, and perceptive, this novel is about "the phosphorous of grief" but also, more essentially, about the emotions men need, but rarely get, from one another.

        COPYRIGHT(2016) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Booklist
      • content:

        Starred review from March 15, 2016
        Erdrich has perfected the meteor-strike noveltales that begin with an out-of-the-blue, catastrophic event, and then track the ensuing shock waves. This dramatic structure shapes Erdrich's National Book Awardwinning The Round House (2012) and takes on even more intensity here. Two neighboring families live in a North Dakota community in which many of the Ojibwe are related, memories are long, and the wounds of the war against Native Americans run deep: Loss, dislocation, disease, addiction, and just feeling like the tattered remnants of a people with a complex history. The women, half-sisters, do not get along; their husbands have become friends. Landreaux and Emmaline Iron are raising five children, including their youngest, LaRose, a preternaturally soulful five-year-old boy. Nola and her white husband, Peter Ravich, have Maggie and Dusty, born at the same time as Dusty's favorite playmate, LaRose. The summer of 1999 is waning, the Y2K scare growing, and Landreaux, a physical-therapy assistant devoted to his clients and guided by both Ojibwe beliefs and the Catholic Church, is hunting. He's a crack shot, but when he pulls the trigger, the deer flees, and Dusty falls. Landreaux and Emmaline make a devastating decision: they will give LaRose to Nola and Peter. Our son will be your son, Landreaux says. It's the old way. As Erdrich explores the inevitable anguish and complications inherent in this act of sacrifice and attempt at justice, she takes soundings of the wellsprings of trauma and strength shaping these grieving households. The time frame shifts to 1839 when a trading post stood on the land the Irons now occupy. There a desperate Ojibwe woman from a mysterious and violent family trades her daughter for rum, igniting a terrifying sequence of passion, murder, and supernatural revenge. Gliding back and forth in time, Erdrich follows the long line of healers named LaRose, and reveals Landreaux's long-hidden past tied to a boarding school designed to sever Native American children from their roots, as well as his volatile relationship with a fellow student named Romeo, now a brooding, plotting, outlaw loner in the grip of substance abuse, poverty, and rage. Their simmering conflict is a key aspect of Erdrich's increasingly suspenseful inquiry into the repercussions of vengeance. The radiance of this many-faceted novel is generated by Erdrich's tenderness for her characters, beginning with the profoundly involving primary figures. But there's also Father Travis, crucial to The Round House and reappearing here in all his rigor, incisiveness, and unruly desires. A circle of bawdy elder women and the smart and funny sisters Snow and Josette (among the young characters who will fascinate advanced teen readers) provide comic relief and covertly wise counsel, while Peter's extreme preparedness for the turn-of-the-millennium apocalypse offers a piquant reflection on questions of fear and faith. LaRose is the fifteenth novel in Erdrich's magnificent North Dakota cycle about the painful and proud legacy and intricately entangled relationships among Native Americans, whites, and people of mixed heritage, a brilliantly imagined and constructed saga of empathy, elegy, spirituality, resilience, wit, wonder, and hope that will stand as a defining master work of American literature for generations to come.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2016, American Library Association.)

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Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award in Fiction

Finalist for the 2017 PEN Faulkner Award

In this literary masterwork, Louise Erdrich, the bestselling author of the National Book Award-winning The Round House and the Pulitzer Prize nominee The Plague of Doves wields her breathtaking narrative magic in an emotionally haunting contemporary tale of a tragic accident, a demand for justice, and a profound act of atonement with ancient roots in Native American culture.

North Dakota, late summer, 1999. Landreaux Iron stalks a deer along the edge of the property bordering his own. He shoots with easy confidence—but when the buck springs away, Landreaux realizes he's hit something else, a blur he saw as he squeezed the trigger. When he staggers closer, he realizes he has killed his neighbor's five-year-old son, Dusty Ravich.

The youngest child of his friend and neighbor, Peter Ravich, Dusty was best friends with...

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