The book group discussed The Plague of Doves by Louise Erdrich on Tuesday night. Here are some interesting things that came up during the discussion.
-My favorite quote from The Plague of Doves:
But every so often something shatters like ice and we are in the river of our existence. We are aware.
- Erdrich has been compared to William Faulkner "for her tangled family trees, her ventriloquist skill, and her expansive use of a fictional province no less fully imagined than Yoknapatawpha County" (Paris Review)
-Mooshum is a trickster character according to one reviewer. He does not behave according to convention, is often funny, and his storytelling cannot be relied upon as wholly truthful.
- Some reviewers wished The Plague of Doves came with a genealogy chart. In her interview with the Paris Review the author admits that she can't keep all of her characters straight; her copy editor does. There must be at least twenty characters in The Plague of Doves, and four narrators; the Boston Globe called the effect "centrifugal".
- A book group member who has read a lot of Erdrich recommends The Master Butchers Singing Club, her favorite. She also liked Love Medicine and The Beet Queen.
-If you are ever in Minneapolis, stop by the author's bookstore, Birchbark Books. They have a canoe hanging from the ceiling and an old confessional renamed "the forgiveness booth." Some of their books are written in Ojibwe.
- According to this web page English words derived from the Ojibwe language include: Mississippi "Miziziibi"(large water), moccasin "makizin," moose "mooz," pecan "bagaan" (nut), toboggan "zhooshkodaabaan," Milwaukee "mino-aki".