LaRose by Louise Erdrich
A Novel

81%

27 Critic Reviews

LaRose stacks intricate layers that Louise Erdrich expertly peels back to expose a masterful and heart-wrenching tale of interrelated stories filled with memorable and complex characters and their myths and spiritual quests that guide them.
-NY Journal of Books

Synopsis

Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award in Fiction

Finalist for the 2017 PEN Faulkner Award

In this literary masterwork, Louise Erdrich, the bestselling author of the National Book Award-winning The Round House and the Pulitzer Prize nominee The Plague of Doves wields her breathtaking narrative magic in an emotionally haunting contemporary tale of a tragic accident, a demand for justice, and a profound act of atonement with ancient roots in Native American culture.

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 long-standing 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.

 

About Louise Erdrich

See more books from this Author
Louise Erdrich is a member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa and is the author of many bestselling and critically acclaimed novels. She lives in Minnesota with her family, where she runs an independent bookstore, The Birchbark House. You can visit her online at www.readlouiseerdrich.com and www.birchbarkbooks.com.
 
Published May 10, 2016 by Harper. 400 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction
Bestseller Status:
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Peak Rank on May 29 2016
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Weeks as Bestseller
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Critic reviews for LaRose
All: 27 | Positive: 25 | Negative: 2

Kirkus

Excellent
on Apr 05 2016

Electric, nimble, and perceptive, this novel is about “the phosphorous of grief” but also, more essentially, about the emotions men need, but rarely get, from one another.

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Publishers Weekly

Excellent
on Feb 08 2016

Erdrich raises suspense by introducing another, related act of retribution, culminating in a memorable and satisfying ending.

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NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by Mary Gordon on May 16 2016

Erdrich has always been fascinated by the relationship between revenge and justice, but while “The Round House” suggested the allure of revenge, “LaRose” comes down firmly on the side of forgiveness. Can a person do the worst possible thing and still be loved? Erdrich’s answer is a resounding yes.

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NY Journal of Books

Excellent
Reviewed by Kim Michele Richardson on May 28 2016

LaRose stacks intricate layers that Louise Erdrich expertly peels back to expose a masterful and heart-wrenching tale of interrelated stories filled with memorable and complex characters and their myths and spiritual quests that guide them.

Read Full Review of LaRose: A Novel | See more reviews from NY Journal of Books

Star Tribune

Good
Reviewed by Ellen Akins on May 09 2016

...empathy is the guiding force in Erdrich’s writing — and so it is in this sad, wise, funny novel, in which the author takes the native storytelling tradition that informs her work and remakes it for the modern world, stitching its tattered remnants into a vibrant living fabric.

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Book Reporter

Above average
Reviewed by L. Dean Murphy on May 10 2016

She turns a tedious digression of the first of five LaRose generations into a thriller of sorts, and clever suspense entices mystery fans.

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LA Times

Above average
Reviewed by Thomas Curwen on May 06 2016

The rewards of "LaRose" lie in the quick unraveling and the slow reconstruction of these lives to a moment when animosities resolve, like shards of glass in a kaleidoscope, into clarity and understanding.

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AV Club

Good
Reviewed by Randon Billings Noble on May 09 2016

At the end of LaRose, the past and present merge, with hints at the future. Some stories come to a close but others stay open, leaving us to wait for Erdrich’s next novel, in the hope that she continues with the characters from this branch of her ever-growing, evergreen fictional family tree.

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Entertainment Weekly

Good
Reviewed by ISABELLA BIEDENHARN on May 06 2016

...an ability to treat each character with singular care, weaving their separate journeys flawlessly throughout the larger narrative, and making each person’s pain feel achingly real. All the while, she adds new depth to timeless concepts of revenge, culture, and family.

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Christian Science Monitor

Good
Reviewed by Yvonne Zipp on May 23 2016

It’s not necessary to have read “The Round House or “The Plague of Doves” to be awed by Erdrich’s expert weaving of a family saga. But those who have will recognize familiar faces...

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USA Today

Good
Reviewed by Mark Athiakis on May 14 2016

...her work likened to Gabriel Garcia Marquez, though it’s a comparison she resists. The tales she’s heard, she once told an interviewer, "make magical realism seem ho-hum." In her 15th novel...Erdrich seems to determined to prove it, highlighting the strangeness of her characters’ lives even while writing with a blunt, clear-eyed realism.

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Tampa Bay Times

Good
Reviewed by Colette Bancroft on May 05 2016

Erdrich writes convincingly of the unpredictable process of the families fracturing, then drawing together in new ways.

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The Sydney Morning Herald

Good
Reviewed by Cameron Woodhead on May 28 2016

Full of pain and resilience, unexpected incident and unlikely humour, Erdrich weaves Native American lives into a story that echoes the pattern and redemptive ambit of late Shakespearean romance.

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The Columbus Dispatch

Above average
Reviewed by Margaret Quamme on Jul 03 2016

It’s easy to see what kind of literary housekeeper Erdrich is. Far from following a narrow course, her book overflows with characters and stories, crammed in whether they quite fit or not.

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Newsday

Good
Reviewed by DAN CRYER on Apr 27 2016

I can forgive Erdrich for that shiny resolution, since the rest of the novel is way too good. All of its characters are evoked with painstaking care. It burns with the intensity of souls starved for love or shattered by death.

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Post and Courier

Good
Reviewed by Catherine Holmes on Jul 20 2016

There’s plenty of historical gut-kicking in “LaRose,” but Erdrich also imagines a way out of the American epic drama of conquest. Her new West is a more versatile contact zone where new myths are being dreamed.

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Post and Courier

Good
Reviewed by AMY MERCER on Jul 17 2016

With vivid imagery and poignant detail, Erdrich celebrates the human fight to stay alive despite generations of pain. Through the success and failures of imperfect, fallible men, women, children and spirits, we learn about the enduring human journey.

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Herald Scotland

Above average
Reviewed by Garry Scott on May 20 2016

...Erdrich mostly rises above sentimentality...she writes beautifully about what Indian children used to learn...

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Fiction Writers Review

Good
Reviewed by ELLEN PRENTISS CAMPBELL on May 30 2016

Thank you, Louise Erdrich, for heartbreak mitigation: for all of us, in every prior book, and, once again, with LaRose.

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Salt Lake Tribune

Good
Reviewed by CARLA K. JOHNSON on May 11 2016

It's a satisfying ending, while also suggesting Erdrich may return to these characters again. Let's hope she does.

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Kansas City Star

Good
Reviewed by Jeffrey Ann Goudie on May 14 2016

“LaRose” is told with aching understanding by Erdrich, who has great affection for her characters. This timeless 15th novel stands as one of Erdrich’s best...

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Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by Natasha Tripney on Apr 18 2017

There are a few baggy sections – it’s not as focused as The Round House, it meanders more – but it is still a book of beauty, a hymn to people’s ability to forgive.

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Guardian

Excellent
Reviewed by LUCY SCHOLES on Jun 05 2016

Louise Erdrich’s 15th novel is one of rare beauty...told by a storyteller both formidable and tender, her talent for description second to none...

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Guardian

Good
Reviewed by Jessa Crispin on May 25 2016

Erdrich exposes the messy aftermath of a tragedy. She does so without sentimentality, without pity. Her themes are the limitations of love as a healing power as much as the healing power of love. It is important to say that Erdrich is one of the greatest living American writers, and LaRose is brilliant.

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https://bookpage.com

Good
Reviewed by Jessica Pearson on May 01 2016

Through complex, dynamic characters and resonant human conflict, Erdrich gives readers the space to ponder atonement, the emotional bonds of family and the ways in which tradition can both orient and obscure our sense of right and wrong.

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https://www.bostonglobe.com

Good
Reviewed by Priscilla Gilman on May 11 2016

...stands on its own as one of her finest achievements. In it, Erdrich affirms again that “the fabric between realities, living and dead, [is] porous . . . This pass-between exist[s].”

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https://www.washingtonpost.com

Good
Reviewed by Ron Charles on May 09 2016

The recurring miracle of Erdrich’s fiction is that nothing feels miraculous in her novels. She gently insists that there are abiding spirits in this land and alternative ways of living and forgiving that have somehow survived the West’s best efforts to snuff them out.

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Reader Rating for LaRose
79%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 278 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


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