Plague of Doves: A Novel

The Plague of Doves: A Novel

by Louise Erdrich

Gail Reid: At the heart of this novel is a crime that occurred in the early 1900's and forged a great divide between the Ojibwe Indians and the white settlers in rural North Dakota. Three generations later, the population has intermingled through marriage, work, and necessity but traces of the decades-old murder insinuates itself among the people.

Mooshum Milk, an elderly grandfather still very tied to the reservation, has a long and and colorful history. He miraculously escaped lynching when the crime was discovered decades before. The novel is a series of interrelated chapters told by his granddaughter Evelina during her teen years.

Many characters are introduced, who are often related or acquainted, which makes this a complex read. I think the author does this on purpose to show the assimilation of the residents through the years. Erdrich weaves the chapters together to share the culture, history and humor of the Ojibwe. There are descriptions and stories that are laugh-aloud funny. But, her greatest strength is to capture your attention; and through some strategic clues solve a murder that is at the core of a sometimes-still divided community. A complicated but great read!
Rating: ****

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