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Love Medicine Paperback – November 17, 1993

3.9 out of 5 stars 81 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

This reissue of Erdrich's exquisite first novel includes five new sections that color and complement the original multigenerational saga of two extended families who live on and around a Chippewa reservation in North Dakota. Each chapter is narrated in a memorable voice like the one of Lipsha Morrissey, a young man who is believed to have "the touch," with which he attempts to bring his wandering grandfather back to his long-suffering grandmother with a love medicine made from goose hearts. By placing us right inside the heads of her remarkable characters, Erdrich allows us to feel the despair that insensitive government policies, poverty, and alcoholism have brought them. For those who have yet to discover this magical novel and for those who will have the pleasure of reexperiencing its heartbreak and its hope, this new version is highly recommended.
- Barbara Love, St. Lawrence Coll. , Kingston, Ontario
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Kirkus Reviews

Erdrich has added five new ``chapters'' to what in 1984 was originally called a novel. Then, and especially now (given the easy add-ons, the ready slotting of the new material), this formal insistence seems hollow and a bit pointless. The stories--which is what they are: none comes with narrative inter-hooks other than the times and constellation of Indian characters they encompass--remain vivid, often haunting, as at ease with the spirit world as they are able to mourn yet not discount the awful worldly circumstances that surround. The new stories are not equal to the best of the old here, but also do no particular damage to the net effect. -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial; Expanded edition (November 17, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060975547
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060975548
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.9 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (81 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #22,413 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Mary Whipple HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on May 13, 2005
Format: Paperback
Published in 1984, this stunning collection of interrelated short stories won the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Fiction. Focusing on the lives of several Chippewa Indian families, and the white families with whom they interact and/or marry, author Louise Erdrich depicts their traditional culture through some of the early characters, and, through later characters, the way the old ways change or become compromised through education, the introduction of religion by missionaries, and contact with modern society. The stories are set in North Dakota on or near a remote reservation, not far from the Canadian border, similar to the place where Erdrich grew up and where her parents worked as teachers for the Bureau of Indian Affairs

The stories reveal fifty years in the lives of the Kashpaw and Lamartine families from the 1930s to the 1980s, as they interact, intermarry, and ultimately try to figure out who they have become. Through her selection of details and her often lyrical descriptions, Erdrich creates vibrant local settings within which her characters tell their stories in lively, colloquial voices. Emotional, matter-of-fact, tormented, and sometimes angry, the characters are equally well drawn for both men and women.

The separate stories of Marie and Nector Kashpaw, which come together when they marry, occupy much of the very early years covered by the collection, but their stories also involve Lulu Lamartine, with whom Nector has a long affair. In the 1980s, Marie and Nector's grandson, Lipsha Morrissey, tries to create a "love medicine" for his elderly grandparents in an old age home, a story filled with ironies and, ultimately, dark humor.
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Format: Paperback
Colorful characters, vivid detail, and a whole range of emotion await the reader that embarks on a journey through Louise Erdrichs' 1985 book Love Medicine. Those who have no prior knowledge of life on an Indian Reservation will come away with a better understanding of Native American life in the twentieth century, while those who are familiar with life on "the res" will certainly find many things to relate to. Erdrich has managed to weave what may at first seem to be unrelated chapters into a colorful history of the lives of the Kashpaw and Nanapush families spanning five decades. Intertwined in the story are many other reservation residents all of whom add their unique contribution to this literary tapestry.
Each chapter is written in the style of its' primary character and reflects the individuals' point of view. Family alliances and feuds are played out, relationships become evident, and secrets are uncovered with each turn of a page. Events are often retold elsewhere in the book from another persons' perspective and the plots continue to thicken. Hopes and dreams often give way to stark reality. Some characters remain on the reservation accepting their lots in life and triumph despite personal tragedies, dysfunctional families, and adversity. Other characters don't cope as well and attempt to escape to the city only to find out that no matter where they go they cannot escape themselves or their destinies. Then, there are those that are so tortured by their life experiences that they see no other way out but the ultimate escape from life itself. Yet, despite tragedy and hardship, life endures. Each character has unique coping mechanisms and skills, and philosophy about life.
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Format: Paperback
Native Americans have not been treated well in fiction. Too often, authors merely fall back on old stereotypes (such as Cooper's Leatherstocking Tales), but authors also risk the danger of reverse racism, in which a minority group is portrayed as so noble and godlike that they insult the human traits of the group (Dances With Wolves, for example). A realistic portrait of Native Americans is desperately needed, and Louise Erdrich fills this void impressively.
This is a deep, complicated book, encompassing many years and characters, jumping back and forth through time, alternating viewpoints with every chapter. Faulknerian in scope, the book is also blessed with a rich sense of humor, which lightens the mood and rounds out the characters. Yes, these people suffer in the book, and the plight of reservation life is presented without romance or any softening of the blow. Yet we laugh as much as we cry throughout "Love Medicine," because Erdrich is a gifted enough author to replace pathos with witty perserverence. This book requires patience and time, but has rich rewards. For an uplifting look at Native American life, and an insightful view on human nature in general, try Louise Erdrich.
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Format: Paperback
I am but only a 14 year old girl and currently read the whole "Tracks" series. I read before this a review that criticized the whole series; it was written by a 16 year old girl who was forced to read it. In my class, we were asked to find a book that has a Native American theme to it, and after carefull consideration, I chose to read this peice after hearing great praise of the author, Louise Erdrich, from my literature teacher. It is indeed a challenging peice of literature, but I found it unique. Its constant changing of narrators leaves you wanting to read and find out what happens to all of the charaters in the end. I first read "Tracks," and I was fascinated with the character Fleur Pillager, she is the type of person that I see in myself, the kind that I would like to play in a movie. She is seen in two narrative forms throughout the book. The first, Nanapush, is a spirtual man whom has a wild heart, and a love for woman. The second is the ignored Pauline, whom is jealous and sick. Fluer is described by Nanapush as a wild-hearted woman who does what she can to survive. Pauline sees her with eyes of jealousy, and sees her as compition for men, and attention period. This novel is the tragic tale of these characters and there life on the Chippewa reservation. Having Chippewa blood myself, I believe that this novel is an accurate account of what happened long ago to the Native Americans, and if all eles, it is a good read. But I must warn you, you must have some intelegence to read this book, for to say the truth, it is one of the harder peices of literature that I read.
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