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A stunning new novel from one of Americas premiere novelists, a book that brings back the characters from her beloved New York Times best seller Tracks. Four Souls opens with Fleurs journey east, during which she has a dream vision that gives her a powerful new name. Arriving in Minneapolis, she is hired as a laundress in the home of John James Mauser. A man notorious for his wealth and his mansion on a hill, Mauser became rich by deceiving young Indian women and taking possession of their ancestral lands *Author: Erdrich, Louise *Series Title: Erdrich, Louise *Publication Date: 2004/06/09 *Number of Pages: 224 *Binding Type: Hardbound *Language: English *Depth: 1.50 *Width: 6.25 *Height: 8.50
Erdrich's mother was Chippewa, her father German, and she was raised in North Dakota near the Chippewa reservation where her grandparents lived--a setting for much of her work. She attended Dartmouth, where she met the writer Michael Dorris, whom she married in 1981, and from whom she separated shortly before his suicide in 1997. Erdrich and Dorris collaborated on several of their fiction works. In her novels and short stories, Erdrich writes about her Native-American heritage, often transplanting characters from one book to another. Her dominant theme is the struggle to retain traditional Native-American values in the face of poverty, racism, and the pervasiveness of white culture.
"[T]he tale's swiftness has a pleasing rhythm....A welcome addition, then, to a uniquely enthralling and important American story."
"The themes of fruitless revenge and redemption are strong here, especially when combined with the pull of [Erdrich's] lyrical prose; Erdrich...will certainly satisfy her already significant audience."
"[Erdrich's] shifting of voices and stories, ranging back and forth in time and place, may sound dauntingly complicated; luckily, it doesn't read that way. In fact, the progression of events feels natural and unforced, full of satisfying yet unexpected twists. The book begins with clean, spare prose, but finishes in gorgeous incantation and poetry."
From the Publisher
Louise Erdrich returns to her perennial character Fleur Pillager to tell a story of vengeance. Determined to kill a man named John James Mauser, the wealthy, underhanded developer who long ago stole her land in North Dakota, she gets a job in his Minneapolis home as a laundress. When she discovers that Mauser is actually an invalid, she knows she needs to make him well enough to be murdered. As she accomplishes this, their relationship takes a strange turn, and Fleur's impulse to revenge is more complicated than she thought. Deeply embedded in Erdrich's ongoing saga about the Ojibwe people (now nine volumes long), FOUR SOULS draws deeply on characters and events from Fleur's history and that of her people.
A strange and compelling unkillable woman decides to leave home, and the story begins. Fleur Pillager takes her mother's name, Four Souls, for strength and walks from her Ojibwe reservation to the cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul. She is seeking restitution from and revenge on the lumber baron who has stripped her reservation. But revenge is never simple, and she quickly finds her intentions complicated by her own dangerous compassion for the man who wronged her.The two narrators of Four Souls are from utterly different worlds. Nanapush, a "smart man and a fool," is both Fleur's savior and her conscience. He tells Fleur's story and tells his own. He would like a calm and discriminating love with his sweetheart, Margaret. He is old and would like to face death with his love beside him. Instead the two find themselves battling out their last years. When the childhood nemesis of Nanapush appears and casts his eye toward Margaret, Nanapush acts out an absurd revenge of his own and nearly ends up destroying everything. The other narrator, Polly Elizabeth Gheen, is a pretentious and vulnerable upper-crust fringe element, a hanger-on in a wealthy Minneapolis family, a woman aware of her precarious hold on those around her. To her own great surprise the entrance of Fleur Pillager into her household and her life effects a transformation she could never have predicted.In the world of interconnected novels by Louise Erdrich, Four Souls is most closely linked to Tracks. All these works continue and elaborate the intricate story of life on a reservation peopled by saints and false saints, heroes and sinners, clever fools and tenacious women. Four Souls reminds us of the deep spirituality and the ordinary humanity of this world, and is as beautiful and lyrical as anything Louise Erdrich has written.