Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Painted Drum, Louise Erdrich

Louise Erdrich is such a rich, voluminously lyrical writer. I'm constantly astounded by the grace with which such powerful stories are delivered!

Mixed blood Faye Travers' own misdeed brings her to find and return a drum that tells its story past, present, and future in this beautifully wrought story. It's a beautiful story of retribution and family; the drum of the Ojibwe brings health and forgiveness to mothers and daughters wrecked by tragedy and misdeeds, as the lost children speak through the drum across generations of a reservation community.

This novel isn't just about grief and loss; it's about life and recovery. All of the women in this novel must move past their actions and circumstances: "Life will break you. Nobody can protect you from that, and living alone won't either, for solitude will also break you with its yearning. You have to love. You have to feel. It is the reason you are here on earth. You are here to risk your heart. You are here to be swallowed up. And when it happens that you are broken, or betrayed, or left, or hurt, or death brushes near, let yourself sit by an apple tree and listen to the apples falling all around you in heaps, wasting their sweetness. Tell yourself that you tasted as many as you could." 

The power in this novel is this message, as well as its scope through multiple generations and over life and death. I highly recommend this novel, as I have been known to recommend others of Erdrich's I have read!

The Painted Drum, Louise Erdrich
ISBN: 0060515112 

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