The Washington Post Reviews Erdrich's LaRose
Reviews of Louise Erdrich's new novel, LaRose, are starting to trickle in. Ron Charles at the Washington Post has his review up today:
The shooting death of the young boy named Dusty at the opening of “LaRose” provides a stark demonstration of two cultures’ responses to a moral conundrum of horrific dimensions. The “civilized” legal system of the state quickly dispatches with Dusty’s death: clearly an accident; no one at fault. But that sterile judgment can’t soothe the parents’ agony or calm the perpetrator’s remorse. How will any of these tightly knit survivors go on living when dawn arrives “sad, calm, and brimming with debt”?
That is essentially the question Erdrich explores over the course of this expansive novel. Tempted to kill himself or drink himself into oblivion, the guilt-ridden hunter, Landreaux Iron, and his wife, Emmaline, withdraw to their sweat lodge and pray. “They sang to their ancestors,” Erdrich writes, “the ones so far back their names were lost. As for the ones whose names they remembered, the names that ended with iban for passed on, or in the spirit world, those were more complicated. Those were the reason both Landreaux and Emmaline were holding hands tightly, throwing their medicines onto the glowing rocks, then crying out with gulping cries.”