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The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse
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A New York Times Notable BookFor more than a half century, Father Damien Modeste has served his beloved Native American tribe, 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 further complicate his quiet existence, a troubled colleague comes to the reservation to investigate the life of the perplexing, possibly false saint Sister Leopolda. Father Damien alone knows the strange truth of Leopolda's piety, but these facts are bound up in his own secret. He is faced with the most difficult decision: Should he tell all and risk everything . . . or manufacture a protective history for Leopolda, though he believes her wonder-working is motivated solely by evil?In a masterwork that both deepens and enlarges the world of her previous novels set on the same reservation, Louise Erdrich captures the essence of a time and the spirit of a woman who felt compelled by her beliefs to serve her people as a priest. The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse is a work of an avid heart, a writer's writer, and a storytelling genius.
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Erdrich returns to a world created through the last dozen years and five novels to view a century's worth of Ojibwe suffering via the letters and memoirs of Father Damien Modeste. One major surprise of the book is revealed right at the start as the elderly priest is revealed to be a woman, but other mysteries of faith and sainthood are explored in "his" letters and richly detailed flashbacks. The twists and turns of gender, belief, and love are woven through beautifully crafted passages filled with deep sorrow and loss. Erdrich's focus is as much on the physical as the divine in the evolving conflicts between church and mysticism, history and legend, and truth and faith. The question of whether Sister Leopolda deserves to be a saint may be the storyteller's quest, but the tale's ultimate resonance is the tragic strength of its characters. Narrator Anna Fields may tend to rush from section to section, but she handles the complexity of changing voices and identities well. A sad and difficult work; recommended. Joyce Kessel, Villa Maria Coll., Buffalo, NY Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

Erdrich renders her North Dakota world of the Ojibwe with a lyrical and richly metaphorical prose style. Her narrative is interspersed with dozens of comic, tragic and all-too-human stories that illuminate her lively, complex and often bizarre Ojibwe people and the priests who come to convert them and minister to their needs. She compassionately portrays Father Damien (n?e Agnes DeWitt) through worldly and spiritual joy, confusion and crisis. Erdrich commingles and explores many world views as Father Damien's life and thought are continually and profoundly reshaped by the lives, events, rites and rituals of the parishioners who come to love him so deeply. But some of the book's strengths become problems for listeners e.g., complicated family relations, complex exposition, confusing jumps back and forth between different time frames throughout an entire century. Fields has a pleasing voice, a fine feel for the material and the characters and a knack for low-key dramatization. But she has a narrow vocal range that becomes tiresome through 14.5 hours of tape. Based on the HarperCollins hardcover. (Apr.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

?Spellbinding?profoundly moving.?Elle "A deeply affecting narrative ? by turns comical and elegiac, farcical and tragic."Michiko Kakutani, New York Times ?What shines most brilliantly through its pages are Erdrich's intelligence and compassion.?Los Angeles Times Book Review "Lyrical ? a lavishly written, diffusely plotted novel about the passion - both religious and carnal - of Father Damien."Boston Sunday Globe "[Erdrich's] best so far. ? told with such cleverness and compassion that the effect is nothing less than dazzling."USA Today "Funny, engrossing and revelatory."Wall Street Journal "You will be dazzled by the poetry of her language and her lighteninglike illuminations of the human condition."Minneapolis St. Paul Magazine "A magnificent storyteller ? delivering musical prose charged by powerful metaphors."St. Paul Star-Tribune "Stunning ?a moving meditation ? infused with mystery and wonder."Atlanta Journal-Constitution "Bold and imaginative."Milwaukee Journal Sentinel "Bold and imaginative." -- Milwaukee Journal Sentinel "Funny, engrossing and revelatory." -- Wall Street Journal "Stunning .a moving meditation . infused with mystery and wonder." -- Atlanta Journal-Constitution "[Erdrich's] best so far.told with such cleverness and compassion that the effect is nothing less than dazzling." -- USA Today "A magnificent storyteller . delivering musical prose charged by powerful metaphors." -- St. Paul Star-Tribune "Spellbinding.profoundly moving." -- Elle "Spellbinding...profoundly moving."--Elle "[Erdrich's] best so far...told with such cleverness and compassion that the effect is nothing less than dazzling."--USA Today "Stunning ...a moving meditation ... infused with mystery and wonder."--Atlanta Journal-Constitution "You will be dazzled by the poetry of her language and her lighteninglike illuminations of the human condition."--Minneapolis St. Paul Magazine "Funny, engrossing and revelatory."--Wall Street Journal "Bold and imaginative."--Milwaukee Journal Sentinel "A deeply affecting narrative . . . by turns comical and elegiac, farcical, and tragic."--Michiko Kakutani, New York Times "A magnificent storyteller ... delivering musical prose charged by powerful metaphors."--St. Paul Star-Tribune A deeply affecting narrative . . . by turns comical and elegiac, farcical, and tragic. --Michiko Kakutani, New York Times" [Erdrich s] best so far told with such cleverness and compassion that the effect is nothing less than dazzling. --USA Today" Spellbinding profoundly moving. --Elle" "A magnificent storyteller delivering musical prose charged by powerful metaphors."--St. Paul Star-Tribune" "Stunning a moving meditation infused with mystery and wonder."--Atlanta Journal-Constitution" Funny, engrossing and revelatory. --Wall Street Journal" Stunning a moving meditation infused with mystery and wonder. --Atlanta Journal-Constitution" Nothing less than dazzling. --USA Today" "Nothing less than dazzling."--USA Today -Funny, engrossing and revelatory.---Wall Street Journal -Stunning ...a moving meditation ... infused with mystery and wonder.---Atlanta Journal-Constitution -Nothing less than dazzling.---USA Today -A deeply affecting narrative . . . by turns comical and elegiac, farcical, and tragic.---Michiko Kakutani, New York Times -Spellbinding...profoundly moving.---Elle -You will be dazzled by the poetry of her language and her lighteninglike illuminations of the human condition.---Minneapolis St. Paul Magazine -A magnificent storyteller ... delivering musical prose charged by powerful metaphors.---St. Paul Star-Tribune -Bold and imaginative.---Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

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