Books and Islands in Ojibwe Country: Traveling Through the Land of My Ancestors

Overview

For more than three decades, Louise Erdrich has enthralled readers with dazzling novels that paint an evocative portrait of Native American life.

In Books and Islands in Ojibwe Country, Erdrich takes us on an illuminating tour through the terrain her ancestors have inhabited for centuries: the lakes and islands of southern Ontario. Summoning to life the Ojibwe's sacred spirits and songs, their language and sorrows, she considers the many ways in which her tribe—whose name ...

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Books and Islands in Ojibwe Country: Traveling Through the Land of My Ancestors

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Overview

For more than three decades, Louise Erdrich has enthralled readers with dazzling novels that paint an evocative portrait of Native American life.

In Books and Islands in Ojibwe Country, Erdrich takes us on an illuminating tour through the terrain her ancestors have inhabited for centuries: the lakes and islands of southern Ontario. Summoning to life the Ojibwe's sacred spirits and songs, their language and sorrows, she considers the many ways in which her tribe—whose name derives from the word ozhibii'ige, "to write"—have influenced her. Her journey links ancient stone paintings with a magical island where a bookish recluse built an extraordinary library, and she reveals how both have transformed her.

A blend of history, mythology, and memoir, Books and Islands in Ojibwe Country is an enchanting meditation on modern life, natural splendor, and the ancient spirituality and creativity of Erdrich's native homeland—a long, elemental tradition of storytelling that is in her blood.

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Editorial Reviews

The Los Angeles Times
Here, Erdrich reveals her true appetite for books, including a covetousness for certain volumes that borders on the unethical. Erdrich doesn't like to travel: "For me, the leaving hurts," she writes. But her calm voice and true instincts are plainly revealed in this simple account of a writer's regeneration. — Susan Salter Reynolds
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062309969
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 3/11/2014
  • Pages: 160
  • Sales rank: 208,471
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 7.80 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Louise Erdrich

Louise Erdrich is the author of fourteen novels as well as volumes of poetry, short stories, children's books, and a memoir of early motherhood. Her novel The Round House won the 2012 National Book Award. She lives in Minnesota, where she owns the bookstore Birchbark Books.

Biography

Award-winning novelist Louise Erdrich grew up in North Dakota, the oldest of seven children born to a Chippewa mother and a father of German-American descent. She graduated from Dartmouth College in 1976 and Johns Hopkins University in 1979, supporting herself with a variety of jobs, including lifeguard, waitress, teacher, and construction flag signaler. She began her literary career as a poet and short story writer and won awards in both fields.

In the late 1970s, Erdrich began a unique collaboration with Michael Dorris, a Native American writer and teacher she met at Dartmouth and married in 1981. In a creative partnership that endured throughout most of their 14-year marriage, each writer exerted a profound influence on the other's work. Although their names appear in tandem on the cover of only two books, Route Two (1990) and The Crown of Columbus (1991), literally everything either one produced during this time was a collaborative effort. In 1995, after a series of tragic setbacks, the couple separated; two years later, Dorris committed suicide.

From the beginning, Erdrich has translated her mixed blood ancestry into chronicles of astonishing power and range. Her bestselling debut novel, the 1984 National Book Critics Circle Award winner Love Medicine, is a series of interrelated stories about several generations of Chippewas living on or near a North Dakota reservation. Spanning most of the 20th century, the book dispenses with any sort of chronological time line and borrows narrative conventions from Native American oral tradition. Several subsequent novels pick up characters, incidents, and narrative threads from Love Medicine to form an interconnected story cycle.

In her novels, Erdrich explores complex issues of family, personal identity, and cultural survival among full- and mixed-blood Native Americans, delving into mythology and tradition to extract what is both specific and universal. She has been known to rework material, incorporating short stories into long fiction, rewriting, and revising constantly. She continues to write poetry and is the author of several children's books, as well as a memoir of early motherhood and a travel book. She is also a founder of Birchbark Books, a small independent bookstore in Minneapolis, where she now lives.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Louise Karen Erdrich (full name; pronounced "air-drik")
    2. Hometown:
      Minneapolis, Minnesota
    1. Date of Birth:
      June 7, 1954
    2. Place of Birth:
      Little Falls, Minnesota
    1. Education:
      B.A., Dartmouth College, 1976; M.A., Johns Hopkins University, 1979

Table of Contents

Ch. 1 Books and Islands 1
Ch. 2 Islands 19
Ch. 3 Rock Paintings 47
Ch. 4 Books 91
Ch. 5 Home 127
Acknowledgments 143
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