Sunday, August 12, 2012

Louise Erdrich: The Plague of Doves

Having read several of Louise Erdrich’s books I was thrilled at the airport in Washington to find her latest book: The Plague of Doves. The circumstances not being quite right I had a hard time getting into it. Yet at a certain point I got involved in the different narrators pushing on the novel which has a marvelous layered complexity. Events are described with their own momentum and at the end there is a kind of closure by the search for and discovery of the truth. In the interwoven settings of the reservation and the small town of Pluto, the weight of historical injustice comes to light through the conjunction of many different elements, as well in an historical setting as a contemporary. Themes are: religion, the unsolved murder of a family, a stamp collection, a violin, burning love, racism, family, the reservation and an untold past.
Read it, take your time over this intricate tapestry and achievement of Louise Erdrich.
Unable to sleep, he lighted a candle stub and paged through the Meditations until he found the one he needed, the one that told him no longer to wander at hazard or wait to read the books he was reserving for old age, but to throw away idle hopes (Louisa!) and come to his own aid, if he cared for himself and while it was in his power.

As I look at the town now, dwindling without grace (....) (Yet there is something to the love and knowledge of the land and its relationship to dreams – that’s what the old people had. That’s why as a tribe we exist to the present.)

The Indian women I knew were shy and very studious, although a couple of them swaggered around furious in ribbon shirts with AIM-looking boyfriends. I didn’t really fit in with anybody.

Like Anaïs, I reviewed every thought, all visual trivia became momentous, my faintest desire a raving hunger.

My consciousness is fragile ground, shaky as forming ice. Every morning, when I open my eyes and experience my first thought, I am flooded with relief. The I is still here.

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