Sunday, May 2, 2010

Forgive me Louise Erdrich


So, to all my avid reader friends, I have a question to ask:
Do you have any authors who you have repeatedly refused to read, flying in the face of their ongoing popularity?

One of those authors for me is Louise Erdrich. I can't tell you why, I have no personal beef with native americans, she's an author based in Minneapolis which is generally a leg up on my booklist, she owns a bookstore. But for some reason I always scan past her books on the library shelves and move on to something else.

Tonight I looked her up to learn more about her, and try to understand what in me is resistant to her. Then I read this statement;

In 1984, Erdrich published the novel Love Medicine. Made up of a disjointed but interconnected series of short narratives, each told from the perspective of a different character, and moving backwards and forward in time through every decade between the 1930’s and the present day, the book told the stories of several families living near each other on a North Dakota Ojibwe reservation.

The innovative techniques of the book, which owed a great deal to the works of William Faulkner but have little precedent in Native-authored fiction, allowed Erdrich to build up a picture of a community in a way entirely suited to the reservation setting.


Ah ha! Mr. Faulkner, a most IRRITATING writer in my experience! Maybe I had tried to read Love Medicine and this style turned me off.

I read further though and discovered her book The Beet Queen. This book focusses on a different demographic of North Dakota, the US homeland of my people. Now I am intrigued and have reserved her book from the library.

So I challenge you to find a decorated writer you have resisted in the past, research their books and find one that you want to give a try. Every writer deserves a second look, right?

1 comment:

k a t said...

I loved her books when I read them (long ago) but I wouldn't say I'm a fan of Faulkner... hmmm.

My problem with Neal Stephenson is I can hardly finish his books, their enormous! I'm much more interested in reading about food right now anyway. I'm currently reading Farmer Jane by Temra Costa.

Btw, this is Kat from artfest days! Hello!

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