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Paperback Love Medicine: New and Expanded Version Book

ISBN: 0060975547

ISBN13: 9780060975548

Love Medicine: New and Expanded Version

(Book #1 in the Love Medicine Series)

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Format: Paperback

Condition: Very Good*

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Book Overview

The first book in Erdrich's Native American tetralogy that includes The Beet Queen, Tracks, and The Bingo Palace is an authentic and emotionally powerful glimpse into the Native American experience--now resequenced and expanded to include never-before-published chapters.

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Good read

Really enjoyed this book. It was a selection for my book club. Glad I had the opportunity to read it. Recommended.

Love Medicine

Very well written. After I received it I realized that I had read it yrears back and that is about all that I remember.

"Love medicines...something of an old Chippewa specialty."

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. Between these stories time flashes forward and back as other generations, other children and parents from the same families, try to deal with the immediate aftermath of war, the harshness of the prison system, unemployment, and poverty. As the characters overlap and interact throughout the stories, the author conveys Chippewa culture, the families' resistance to and acceptance of change, the roles of strong women in holding families together, the hostility towards the federal government, and the sometimes overwhelming despair of those who live on the reservation. The characters' sense of pride and endurance elevate even the saddest and most wrenching stories, however, while the bleak humor keeps them from becoming morbid or sentimental. Dramatic, thoughtful, and powerful, Erdrich's collection creates an unforgettable portrait of two families who represent a changing Chippewa nation. Mary Whipple

The Plunge of the Brave

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.

Come to the "res" and get to know some very special people..

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. As the book progresses the reader gets to know all the key characters very well. Remarkable throughout the book is the connection and sense of extended family that exists in this community. Especially poignant is the way the matriarchs hold all aspects of reservation life together through good times and bad. Children are fostered as needed without question and raised alongside natural children, frailties accepted, those in need are cared for, eccentricities are tolerated, and indiscretions either forgiven or ignored. Doors are always open to friends and relatives, commodities shared, and family loyalty is a way of life. The community is interdependent on all its' members, as is clearly demonstrated when all the families in the community are included as employees of the short-lived Tomahawk Factory, and reap from both the success and failure of this trailblazing endeavor. The ways and superstitions of the Old World weave their way throughout the book adding interest, and sometimes mystery.Using the personal experiences as a German-Native American and her keen insight into all aspects of life Erdrich brings to light the challenges of everyday life for this marginal population; those that live both in the old world and t
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