Day 1190: LaRose

Cover for LaRoseSet in 1999 on a North Dakota reservation, LaRose is about how a community, but in particular two families, are affected by a horrible accident. Out hunting a deer on his property, Landreaux Iron kills Dusty, the young son of his best friend, Peter Ravich, when Dusty falls out of a tree as Landreaux takes his shot.

To try to make amends, Landreaux, who has turned to the old ways to throw off addiction and straighten out his life, offers the Ravich family his own young son, LaRose, to raise. Nola Ravich, Dusty’s mother, is eaten up with hatred against the Irons, even Emmaline, who is her half sister. But having LaRose helps. Emmaline, however, can’t be expected to give up her son forever.

LaRose is the latest in a long line of LaRoses, all of whom had a special connection with the spirit world. LaRose finds himself able to help Nola and her neglected daughter, Maggie, even though he is only a small boy.

Another significant character is Romeo, who long ago was Landreaux’s best friend. He bears Landreaux a grudge because of an incident years before. Slowly, he works at his resentment despite the Irons having taken in his son Julius to raise.

Although I occasionally got distracted by how diffuse the plot is and how many directions it goes, in the main I enjoyed this novel. It isn’t nearly as depressing as a lot of Erdrich’s work, and it paints a powerful portrait of these two families. Dealing with forgiveness, of oneself and others, grief, guilt, and other human complexities, it is a strong novel.

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2 thoughts on “Day 1190: LaRose

  1. buriedinprint March 18, 2018 / 9:13 am

    My current Erdrich read, as I gradually reread and read through all of her books (a project which I began last year) is the Little No Horse story, which is very long and complicated, as it sounds like this one is (but in a satisfying one). I found it interesting that LaRose is mentioned in The Round House, too, but it seems to be a different character: I’m excited about reading this one (but it’ll probably be awhile yet). Do you have a favourite of hers?

  2. whatmeread March 18, 2018 / 11:47 am

    The one that springs to mind she wrote with Michael Dorris, A Yellow Raft in Blue Water.

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