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The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse: A Novel Paperback – August 16, 2016
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How--and why--could such a deception last so long? That's the first mystery. The second begins when Father Jude Miller (a name familiar to readers of The Beet Queen) arrives to investigate the life of Sister Leopolda (or Pauline Puyat, another familiar name). Was Leopolda a saint? Or its opposite, whatever that is? Miracles, after all, are a part of the reservation's everyday life; for every nun's stigmata there's a secular wonder like the death of Nanapush. Indeed, the chapter detailing this old trickster's demise is the kind of earthy, tragicomic fable Erdrich does to perfection, including as it does an extended trial by moose, death by flatulence, and not one but two lustful resurrections.
Erdrich's writing is at its best when she chronicles the bittersweet humor of reservation life. It's at its worst, sadly, when she cranks up the fog machine and goes for the violins. ("He had the odd sensation that petals drifted in the air between them, petals of a fragrant and papery citrus velvet," she tells us, telegraphing Father Jude's attraction to a woman.) But at least the book's sins are sins of ambition--this is a novelist who revisits the same territory because the capaciousness of her vision demands it. Readers may forgive Erdrich's vagueness about Father Damien's religious calling, but they will never forget her images, as lovely and surprising as figures glimpsed in a dream: the devil in the shape of a black dog, his paw in a bowl of soup; freshly planted pansies, nodding at the priests' feet "like the faces of spoiled babies"; a woman in a billowing white nightdress riding a grand piano through the "gray soup" of a flood. Moments like these are small miracles of their own. --Mary Park --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
"Little No Horse" is a strange place. I won't go into too many details, but it is a place where women over age seventy still have enough sex appeal to make men obsess (sexy enough to make priests want give up the call) -- reminiscent of the women of the Old Testament, particularly Genesis.
In "The Last Report At Little No Horse" Louise Erdrich wrote less of the first person narratives -- which seemed to dominated the first six novels of this series -- telling the story predominately in the third person (my own opinion is telling a story from a third person perspective is much more difficult to do right). You need only open any page in this book to discover the work of a master wordsmith. Beautiful.
Louis Erdrich continues her tradition of intelligent, respectful and captivating writing with this book. Rather than elaborate on the specifics of characters and background in this novel, I will just say that this book gave me an overall sense of a writer who has found peace and come to appreciate life's joys.
We learn in the first pages that Father Damien is a female once called Agnes. Agnes/Father Damien has a passionate life ride and the good fortune to befriend and be friended by many wonderful characters. All of Agnes' loves are intriguing and inform her choices. These include the music of Chopin and a drowned piano. Agnes' respect for the Ojibwe people influences Father Damien's belief that the Four Directions are as sacred as the Trinity and must be incorporated into all blessings.
My favorite character, the trickster genius, Nanapush, teaches Father Damien how to survive in practical ways, as in how to make snow shoes and how to unnerve an opponent in a game of chess. Father Damien is generously helped by Nanapush to regain his commitment to the living world in a sacred Ojibwe sweat lodge ceremony. Their discussions about the concept of the Catholic Devil, as opposed to the Ojibwe devils ( some good, some bad), the Ojibwe concept of "not time," and that even a pair of old pants can harbor spirit are wonderful passages to read and read again. Nanapush introduces the Father to a spirituality of wit and compassion and bone deep wisdom that causes his Agnes self to hope in her last breathing moments that she might bypass the devil she fears has conscripted her soul and even bypass the Catholic heaven for the Ojibwe version of the after life that she has learned to prefer as the most hopeful final option.Read more ›
While the Agnes/Damien character needs to be set up for us and motivation created for her to take on the role she does, I found this opening section (about 60-70 pages) relatively uninteresting and at times overwrought in its writing (in particular its description of music and sex). I usually give a book 40-50 pages before considering giving it up, and had this not been a book for my wife's book club (we like to co-read and discuss) I'm not sure I would have continued. I'm glad I did, but the story really didn't hold any interest for me until Father Damien appeared on the reservation, and even then it didn't really get compelling until about halfway through.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is an odd story with lots of interesting developments. There are complex characters, but it's a little difficult to follow their progression. Read morePublished 7 days ago by Linda W
I love her other books and I Really wanted to like this but no way! It's confusing, disturbing and rambling. So very disappointed.Published 8 days ago by msteach
One of my favorite reads, a book to return to every few years for its lyrical prose and insightful descriptions of the times and the folk.Published 18 days ago by Charlotte R
her stories are a little heavy for me. I have read several of her books and they are interesting.Published 1 month ago by frances b ray
At times hard to know who is talking - sort of a North Dakota/Ojibwa LIFE OF PIPublished 1 month ago by Jean Blackwell
We just finished this for book club. Some members had read other Erdrich books, but i wasn't even aware of her writing. I loved it. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Barry L. Steely