The Antelope Wife and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Buy Used
$4.33
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: FREE SHIPPING w/AMAZON PRIME!
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

The Antelope Wife: A Novel Hardcover – March 10, 1998


See all 25 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Hardcover
"Please retry"
$3.99 $0.01

The Water Knife by Paolo Bacigalupi
The Water Knife by Paolo Bacigalupi
Into the chaos of a prolonged drought step Angel Velasquez—a "water knife"; Lucy Monroe, a hardened journalist; and Maria Villarosa, a young migrant, who dreams of escaping north to those places where water still falls from the sky: All three find themselves pawns in a game far bigger, more corrupt and dirtier than any of them could have imagined. Learn more | See similar books

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

As Louise Erdrich's magical novel The Antelope Wife opens, a cavalry soldier pursues a dog with an Ojibwa baby strapped to its back. For days he follows them through "the vast carcass of the world west of the Otter Tail River" until finally the dog allows him to approach and handle the child--a girl, not yet weaned, who latches onto his nipples until, miraculously, they begin to give milk. In another kind of novel, this might be a metaphor. But this is the fictional world of Louise Erdrich, where myth is woven deeply into the fabric of everyday life. A famous cake tastes of grief, joy, and the secret ingredient: fear. The tie that binds the antelope wife to her husband is, literally, the strip of sweetheart calico he used to yoke her hand to his. Legendary characters sew beads into colorful patterns, and these patterns become the design of the novel itself.

The Antelope Wife centers on the Roys and the Shawanos, two closely related Ojibwa families living in modern-day Gakahbekong, or Minneapolis. Urban Indians of mixed blood, they are "scattered like beads off a necklace and put back together in new patterns, new strings," and Erdrich follows them through two failed marriages, a "kamikaze" wedding, and several tragic deaths. But the plot also loops and circles back, drawing in a 100-year-old murder, a burned Ojibwa village, a lost baby, several dead twins, and another baby nursed on father's milk.

The familiar Erdrich themes are all here--love, family, history, and the complex ways these forces both bind and separate the generations, stitching them into patterns as complex as beadwork. At least initially, this swirl of characters, narratives, time lines, and connections can take a little getting used to; several of the story lines do not match up until the book's conclusion. But in the end, Erdrich's lovely, lyrical language prevails, and the reader succumbs to the book's own dreamlike logic. As The Antelope Wife closes, Erdrich steps back to address readers directly for the first time, and the moment expands the book's elaborate patterns well beyond the confines of its pages. "Who is beading us?" she asks. "Who are you and who am I, the beader or the bit of colored glass sewn onto the fabric of the earth?... We stand on tiptoe, trying to see over the edge, and only catch a glimpse of the next bead on the string, and the woman's hand moving, one day, the next, and the needle flashing over the horizon." -- Mary Park, editor

From Publishers Weekly

"Family stories repeat themselves in patterns and waves, generation to generation, across blood and time." Erdrich (Love Medicine, etc.) embroiders this theme in a sensuous novel that brings her back to the material she knows best, the emotionally dislocated lives of Native Americans who try to adhere to the tribal ways while yielding to the lure of the general culture. In a beautifully articulated tale of intertwined relationships among succeeding generations, she tells the story of the Roy and the Shawano families and their "colliding histories and destinies." The narrative begins like a fever dream with a U.S. cavalry attack on an Ojibwa village, the death of an old woman who utters a fateful word, the inadvertent kidnapping of a baby and a mother's heartbreaking quest. The descendants of the white soldier who takes the baby and of the bereaved Ojibwa mother are connected by a potent mix of tragedy, farce and mystical revelation. As time passes, there is another kidnapping, the death of a child and a suicide. Fates are determined by a necklace of blue beads, a length of sweetheart calico and a recipe for blitzkuchen. Though the saga is animated by obsessional love, mysterious disappearances, mythic legends and personal frailties, Erdrich also works in a comic vein. There's a dog who tells dirty jokes and a naked wife whose anniversary surprise has an audience. Throughout, Erdrich emphasizes the paradoxes of everyday life: braided grandmas who follow traditional ways and speak the old language also wear eyeliner and sneakers. In each generation, men and women are bewitched by love, lust and longing; they are slaves to drink, to carefully guarded secrets or to the mesmerizing power of hope. Though the plot sometimes bogs down from an overload of emotional complications, the novel ultimately celebrates the courage of following one's ordained path in the universe and meeting the challenges of fate. It is an assured example of Erdrich's storytelling skills.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Best Books of the Month
Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Harper; 1st edition (March 10, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060187263
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060187262
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.9 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #880,466 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

3.7 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

41 of 44 people found the following review helpful By Douglas A. Greenberg VINE VOICE on July 16, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I was disappointed in Louise Erdrich's previous novel, *Tales of Burning Love*, which I thought was overly sensationalistic--a bit "Hollywood" for my taste. In *The Antelope Wife*, however, she has returned to an approach that is reminiscent of her first and most triumphant novel, *Love Medicine*. She writes in a style that may be difficult for some readers to accept--no,it's not "obscure" in the sense of a James Joyce novel, but she changes voices, time frames, and situations constantly. The result is a tapestry-like narrative that is uniquely effective, in my view. Erdrich has a way with words that is rare in today's literary world, despite the countless novels that are published annually. Moreover, because of her own Native American heritage, she is able to convey with incredible effectiveness the realities of past and present life and consciousness within those Indian cultures with which she is familiar.
This is a fine work, one that makes me look forward all the more to Louise Erdrich's next book.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By K. L. Cotugno VINE VOICE on January 28, 1999
Format: Paperback
With each book, my admiration grows for this writer. Her attention to detail, characterizations, interweaving of mysticism and reality -- and with all, an original dash of humor laced with sadness. As with Burning Tales of Love, she weaves many disparate threads together, creating a narrative blanket that you never want to unwrap from. I've read everything she's written, and in this day when prizes such as the National Book Award mean so much in sales and recognition, it amazes me that her work isn't at least among the finalists.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Bonny on March 13, 1998
Format: Hardcover
(First of all, it is a NOVEL, not a collection of short stories as is advertised in Amazon.Com.) The Antelope Wife is Louise Erdrich's best novel since Love Medicine. She uses language like paint, creating pictures and moments. Unfortunately, the plot is still hard to follow, and the characters are so similar that you find yourself having to scan backwards to try to remember who's who. Her symbolism in this book include: Men nursing infants, women nursing dogs, beadwork, twins, baked goods (playing the same role that meat played in Beet Queen), plains Indians, urban Indians, and dogs, some eaten. In her non-fiction book The Blue Jay's Dance, Erdrich writes: "I do not like cats, so I am fascinated by their silken ways." As a reader, I do not like Erdrich, so I am fascinated by the words she chooses to put on the page.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 23, 1998
Format: Hardcover
I must say that I was somewhat dissapointed with this book. I expected more depth from the characters than what they could give. I miss characters like Lipsha, as complex as the stories of which they were a part. As usual, all the characters are tied to one another in a knot which has no beginning or end. Unfortunately, the depth which they lack makes this, as another person commented "hard to follow". Erdrich ties them together for the sake of having them tied; many of the connections among them are forced at best. The big, loose, loopish, way in which the story is written makes this the most authentic piece of Native American Fiction Erdrich has ever written. Had the characters been more developed, it would have been one of her best.
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By laquagmire@aol.com on May 2, 1998
Format: Hardcover
This book is beautiful and sad -- intelligent and thoughtful. The author has great empathy for all of her characters -- the good and the bad -- the stable and the disturbed. The twin-ness of the stories and the characters is what achieves this empathy -- it is an exploration, not an apology for the complexities of people. The narrative voices throughout the novel are fraught with a touching and genuine emotion that refrains from becoming sappy. It is difficult to read the woes and ponderings of these characters and to avoid an empathy -- a reading between the lines -- that relate to the author's personal woes. If you wondered, as I did, what effect her personal trials would have on her fiction, this book answers that question better than any interview could. I look forward to her next effort.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
8 of 11 people found the following review helpful By LaLoren on October 29, 2000
Format: Hardcover
The theme of this Erdrich novel is beaded tapestry and how our lives are smilarly woven into a pattern. She also shows the interweaving of past and present, the animal world with the human world, and myth with reality.

Common wisdom says that narrative should almost always be in one voice and that stories should move in a linear progression. Erdrich, as do many of the best Native American writers, shows that this is not necessarily so. Though I did find myself frustrated sometimes trying to follow the connections of past and present, and how different people were related, it became clear in the end that the tale was told in a circle, and eventually it all made sense. Erdrich does not tie up all of the loose ends, however. There remains some mystery, for example, in the characters of the two grandmothers, which is what gives the story a lasting value and keeps you thinking long after you've finished reading.

The one flaw, for me, though, was that the weavi!ng still had some loose threads. Like the telling of a family history, everything is included, even the parts that are not necessary to the plot. Perhaps I missed something in my reading or interpretation, but I felt that the story of Sweet Heart Calico (the true antelope wife) and Klaus could have stood alone. While it was fascinating and well handled in and of itself, it really was not necessary to the main story. Also the story of the German soldier was a bit superfluous.

Of course, Erdrich was not really writing a family history. She was writing a novel about family histories, and as such, she could have done a little more weeding and honing. In spite of its small flaws, however, this is still a beautiful and well-written work.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Recent Customer Reviews


What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?