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Love Medicine: Newly Revised Edition (P.S.) Paperback – May 5, 2009

4 out of 5 stars 126 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"A dazzling series of family portraits.... This novel is simply about the power of love.""--Chicago Tribune""The beauty of Love Medicine is the work of a tough, loving mind."-- Toni Morrison"A powerful piece of work . . . Louise Erdrich is the rarest kind of writer; as compassionate as she is sharp-sighted"-- Anne Tyler

From the Back Cover

The stunning first novel in Louise Erdrich's Native American series, Love Medicine tells the story of two families, the Kashpaws and the Lamartines. Written in Erdrich's uniquely poetic, powerful style, it is a multi-generational portrait of strong men and women caught in an unforgettable drama of anger, desire, and the healing power that is love medicine.


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Product Details

  • Series: P.S.
  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial; Revised edition (May 5, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061787426
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061787423
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.9 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (126 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #15,672 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Louise Erdrich is the author of twelve novels as well as volumes of poetry, children's books, and a memoir of early motherhood. Her debut novel, Love Medicine, won the National Book Critics Circle Award. The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse was a finalist for the National Book Award. Her most recent novel, The Plague of Doves, a New York Times bestseller, received the highest praise from Philip Roth, who wrote, "Louise Erdrich's imaginative freedom has reached its zenith--The Plague of Doves is her dazzling masterpiece." Louise Erdrich lives in Minnesota with her daughters and is the owner of Birchbark Books, a small independent bookstore.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
It just does not seem fair that someone could claim this work as her first novel. It is so intricately woven, and the multiple narratives are so expertly spoken, that I find it very difficult to believe it came from a novice.
At this point, I have read approximately 15 Native American works/novels, including Momaday, Silko, Welch, Dorris, Alexie and Sa--and I think I must say that Erdrich's "Love Medicine" tops them all. It is well thought out...almost too well thought out.
It is funny and disturbing intermittently, but most of all, it is about families, rivals, and life. It is about connections.
Forget the fact that it is a "Native American Novel" and concern yourself only with the fact that it is one of the most engaging stories in contemporary fiction.
Warning: one must be on one's toes while reading this! Snooze for two paragraphs and you may be sorry. Much like Toni Morrison, Louise Erdrich is a very deliberate writer...everything is written for a reason and you had best believe that every little detail is connected to something. This is a book you will insist upon reading at least twice.
P.S. Beware! There are two different versions of this novel out there...one of which is missing four valuable chapters. Before buying or borrowing, make sure your table of contents has "The Island," "Resurrection," "The Tomahawk Factory," and "Lyman's Luck." -Having read the more complete version of "Love Medicine," I absolutely cannot fathom doing without these four chapters. Avoid depriving yourself if possible.
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Format: Paperback
Louise' Erdrich's Love Medicine is an intricate story centered on two Chippewa families, the Kashpaws and the Lamartines, and the way the family members interact with each other. The story begins with June, a beautiful woman, down on her luck, whose sudden and accidental death has a profound effect on the lives of the people who knew her. Readers travel back and forth in time with multiple characters, experiencing their lives as they unfold, watching as they make mistakes, recover, and then stumble again. We see how the American government impacts their lives, how Christian missionaries abuse their culture, and how, over time, proud people become mistrustful and vengeful, falling into alcoholism, violence and dead ends.

Native American contemporary history is pretty bleak. It's a story of almost complete annihilation, isolation, broken promises and misguided compromises. Even using the phrase "Native American" in a way is defeatist- even 100 years ago, people knew tribes as being distinct, having very different ideas about life and how to live it. Now, there are so few of them left that we group them all together and are completely unaware of the nuances that separate one tribe from another.

Louise Erdrich writes about all this, but indirectly, through a series of short stories interwoven with each other to form a novel. We meet so many characters, all of them flawed, none of them very likeable and yet we can empathize with every one. There is so much sadness in this book- so much lost potential, so much despair, so much waste, often symbolized by bouts of extreme drunkenness and violence.
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Format: Paperback
Louise Erdich, the author, is of German and Chippewa descent. The story is about the Chippewa (aka Ojibwa) living on a fictional reservation in North Dakota and how one person's death affects so many lives. Lke a "dark twisting river - the bed is deep and narrow" as it meanders through the land and time.

The first chapter describes June Kashpaw, Chippewa mother and wife, off the Reservation walking down the boom-town of Williston, North Dakota, thinking of taking a bus home to the reservation. She meets a man at a bar, has a brief liaison, and then freezes to death walking home in a snow storm. The stories following cascade and are held together by her death, how her children, husband (Gordie Kashpaw), and others on the reservation are touched by the murder.

The story meanders in a unstructured way through short stories - interconnected - but could easily stand on their own. There are 18 Chapters in the expanded version. Characters from Chippewa and Mixed Blood families talk in mostly first person and connected through relatives or lovers over decades. Each chapter starts with a new character telling a piece of the interconnected story from their viewpoint. It takes awhile to understand which character is talking. The timeline is choppy and hops back and forth from the 1930's to the 1980's. It would have been good to have a "family tree" at the end of the book to see more clearly the interrelationships. However, I feel guilty saying that as the Chippewa don't believe in human measurement - of numbers, time, inches, feet, or quantification - as they are "all just plays for cutting nature down to size." The Chippewa feel the "grand scheme of nature is not ours to measure.
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