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North Dakota, late summer, 1999. Landreaux Iron stalks a deer along the edge of the property bordering his own. He shoots with easy confidence - but when the buck springs away, Landreaux realizes he's hit something else, a blur he saw as he squeezed the trigger. When he staggers closer, he realizes he has killed his neighbor's five-year-old son, Dusty Ravich.
The youngest child of his friend and neighbor, Peter Ravich, Dusty was best friends with Landreaux's five-year-old son, LaRose. The two families have always been close, sharing food, clothing, and rides into town; their children played together despite going to different schools; and Landreaux's wife, Emmaline, is half sister to Dusty's mother, Nola. Horrified at what he's done, the recovered alcoholic turns to an Ojibwe tribe tradition - the sweat lodge - for guidance and finds a way forward. Following an ancient means of retribution, he and Emmaline will give LaRose to the grieving Peter and Nola. "Our son will be your son now," they tell them.
LaRose is quickly absorbed into his new family. Plagued by thoughts of suicide, Nola dotes on him, keeping her darkness at bay. His fierce, rebellious new "sister", Maggie, welcomes him as a coconspirator who can ease her volatile mother's terrifying moods. Gradually he's allowed shared visits with his birth family, whose sorrow mirrors the Raviches' own. As the years pass, LaRose becomes the linchpin linking the Irons and the Raviches, and eventually their mutual pain begins to heal.
But when a vengeful man with a longstanding grudge against Landreaux begins raising trouble, hurling accusations of a cover-up the day Dusty died, he threatens the tenuous peace that has kept these two fragile families whole.
Inspiring and affecting, LaRose is a powerful exploration of loss, justice, and the reparation of the human heart and an unforgettable, dazzling tour de force from one of America's most distinguished literary masters.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By sgonk on 08-22-16
Great story; wonderful narration by the author.
Another great novel by Louise Erdrich; her characters are palpable, her dialogue sounds just like people speak, she creates multiple intertwining plot lines, and she keeps the whole thing moving forward without any apparent effort.
This is a story where the title character isn't really the main--or at least not the only main--character of the story. The novel allows the reader/listener to figure out who might be the center of the novel slowly. I loved this technique. (Of course, like many or maybe all of her books, the "main character" is the entire community described in the book--including the community's history and ancestors.)
The issues that the characters deal with will be familiar to those who have read Erdrich before. She broadens the story by exploring lives of the ancestors of the characters in the book--and the stories they told and still tell.
I am not necessarily a fan of Author-read books. This is an exception. Erdrich's narration was perfect for the book; her phrasing was precise. The minor but consistent changes in her voice indicated which character was speaking, and her accents were spot-on.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful
By Aza on 05-17-16
Having just finished this book I'm a bit overcome with emotion to put its impact into words. I will say that, as an Ojibwe woman myself, I found it utterly absorbing, beautiful, true, funny, moving, heartbreaking, and by the end I felt joy! She is an incredible writer and we are so lucky as listeners that the author read this book herself. She captures each character perfectly and winds her various stories together to make one cohesive and yet surprising tale that will stay with you. I'm just crazy about this book.
19 of 22 people found this review helpful