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Louise Erdrich is an American author who is a member of the Chippewa Indians belonging to the Ojibwe people. Many of her books and poems center on Native American themes based on her heritage and experiences.
The Night Watchman (2020) is based on Erdrich's grandfather's life. The book primarily follows two people from the Turtle Mountain Reservation in 1953. A night watchman at a nearby jewel-bearing plant is contemplating the effects of the 'emancipation bill on the floor of Congress. The second character is a young woman who works at the plant and is striving to support her mother and siblings and make it to the big city to find her older sister who went missing. Erdrich also weaves in other members of the reservation throughout the story as they interact with the main protagonists.
Future Home of the Living God (2017) is a dystopian novel about a pregnant young woman. In this world, evolution has begun to reverse itself and women are starting to give birth to primitive human infants. The story's protagonist, Cedar Hawk Songmaker, is worried about her unborn child and is on a mission to find her birth family to learn more about her biological family. The novel is written in the form of entries from Cedar's diary.
LaRose (2016) shows the impact a tragic accident can have on families. When Landreaux accidentally kills his neighbor and best friend's young child, following ancient customs he gives up his own son LaRose to his neighbor as compensation. The novel follows the impact that it has on both families and their community in the following years. Erdrich weaves in the tragic story of a past female family member named LaRose.
The Round House (2012) follows Joe Coutts; son of a narrator in The Plague of Doves; as he struggles with the aftermath of a brutal attack on his mother. This novel takes place over years as Joe grows up to become a prosecutor struggling with the idea of vigilante justice.
The Plague of Doves (2008) is set during the 1960s in a small town still struggling with the unsolved murder of a family decades ago. The novel follows multiple narrators, there is a young girl, a tribal judge, the wife of a local cult leader, and a fourth narrator who shows the fallout of this crime decades ago. This is the first novel in a loosely connected Justice Trilogy, including The Round House and LaRose.
To learn more about Native American authors check out our Native American Literature guide.
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