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Publisher's Summary

For more than a half century, Father Damien Modeste has served his beloved people, the Ojibwe, on the remote reservation of Little No Horse. Now, nearing the end of his life, Father Damien dreads the discovery of his physical identity, for he is a woman who has lived as a man. To complicate his fears, his quiet life changes when a troubled colleague comes to the reservation to investigate the life of the perplexing, difficult, possibly false saint Sister Leopolda. Father Damien alone knows the strange truth of Sister Leopolda's piety and is faced with the most difficult decision of his life: Should he reveal all he knows and risk everything? Or should he manufacture a protective history though he believes Leopolda's wonder-working is motivated by evil?
©2001 Louise Erdrich (P)2001 HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.
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Critic Reviews

Book Sense Book of the Year Award Finalist, Adult Fiction, 2002
2005 Audie Award Nominee, Personal Development/Motivational
"Erdrich's prose is beautiful and the tale fascinating and enjoyable." (AudioFile)
"Erdrich renders her North Dakota world of the Ojibwe with a lyrical and richly metaphorical prose style....Fields has a pleasing voice, a fine feel for the material and the characters and a knack for low-key dramatization." (Publishers Weekly)
"This is Erdrich writing at the peak of her powers, embracing both the earthy sensuality and abiding spirituality of her characters and energizing the whole with a raucous humor that is at once self-deprecating and life-enhancing." (Booklist)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Carol T. Carr on 07-07-05

Remarkable and Challenging

This is a remarkable book that provides new challenges with every twist of the story. What would motivate a person to make the decisions that Agnes/Modeste makes? Where does the "real" story end and fantasy begin? This book has the fantastical feeling of "Life in the Time of Cholera" and yet it is very solidly rooted in the realities of Native American life on a reservation. Who are all the people and how are they all related? It is a challenge in some ways to listen rather than read this book because there are so many rich characters. Once again, I would recommend that Audible provide a written list of characters for those who purchase this audiobook.

All of these challenges add up to a compelling read, a bit discouraging at times because it is not always clear where the story is going with all its diversions, but ultimately the story and all the characters are solidly wrapped up tight. I highly recommend it for the fine writing and incredible characters the author has created; it is one of the most inventive and least predictable books I have read in a long time.

I also have very high praise for the narrator. Having listened to other books she has read, I doubt very much that Anna Fields is an Ojibwe Indian, but she portrays one without a flaw. As well as dozens of other characters with authenticity and clarity. I felt like applauding when she ended.

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23 of 23 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Malcolm on 02-03-05

This is Pulitzer material, folks

Erdrich is one of the most captivating novelists writing today and this may be her finest work. Love, faith, passion, what it means to be human outside of gender identities and cultural barriers - she weaves these themes through an engaging dramatic storyline that will leave you thinking about it long after the story is over. Get this book.

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24 of 25 people found this review helpful

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