A new and radically revised version of the classic novel the New York Times called "a fiercely imagined tale of love and loss, a story that manages to transform tragedy into comic redemption, sorrow into heroic survival."
When Klaus Shawano abducts Sweetheart Calico and carries her far from her native Montana plains to his Minneapolis home, he cannot begin to imagine what the eventual consequences of his rash act will be. Shawano's mysterious Antelope Woman has stolen his heart—and soon proves to be a bewitching agent of chaos whose effect on others is disturbing and irresistible, as she alters the shape of things around her and the shape of things to come.
In this remarkable revised edition of her acclaimed novel, Louise Erdrich weaves an unforgettable tapestry of ancestry, fate, harrowing tragedy, and redemption that seems at once modern and eternal.
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It's hard to really summarize the plot of this novel. It basically tells the story of the Roy/Shawano family, from its roots in the past, through to the present day. The story isn't told in precisely the right order, and some of the oldest pieces aren't revealed until the end. Some of the sections are told in the voice of particular characters, and some are in the third person. Through the book, there is the enigmatic character of "Sweethart Calico", the Antelope Wife, who (I think) stands as a symbol of the loss of freedom of the native american people. The story relies heavily on illusions to native american mythology, and through the story of this family, the reader gains insight into the plight of "city Indians".
Reading through it, I was sad that I had no class to discuss this book with because it would lend itself really well to discussion of symbolism and Native American mythology. I remember a lot of it from my college courses, but some of it is a little murky. I'm not sure I liked the way that the narration jumped from the third to the first person in various chapters. The tagline on the front says that this book manages to transform tragedy into comic redemption. Though that is something charcteristic of some other native American writers (i.e. Sherman Alexie), I didn't find much humor in this book. Mostly, it's pretty depressing with few uplifting moments. That said, it's a very interesting read and I'm glad that (five years later) I actually managed to make it through it.more
many members of a loosely connected group of ojibwa families meet, love, hate, and cross paths over the generations in the minneapolis area. some of these people are seers, who have to dream the names of the next generation; others are ordinary bakers who nourish this one. things that would be played for shock value (or at least dramatic climax) in a more mundane author's hands - a kidnapped woman shatters her teeth on a bathroom fixture while trying to flee, for example - happen in a near stream-of-unconsciousness acceptance. truly, few things i've ever read have come as close to a dream's feeling of strange things washing over you with barely a ripple as this novel.
apparently, though, i'm a bit too conventional in my tastes to really suffuse myself in this type of tale. there's no real WHY to this story, just the sense that you're getting a fragment of an endless dream. for all that this story has moments of amazing beauty and wonder, i need things to have more meaning or more cohesive purpose.more