Equal parts memoir, history, and mythology, this beautiful book from National Book Award-winning Erdrich offers a rare glimpse of the writer’s personal life and an account of a territory unfamiliar to–and untouched by–most of the outside world
For over three decades Louise Erdrich has been creating a spellbinding fictional portrait of Native American life. From her dazzling first novel, Love Medicine, to her National Book Award–winning novel, The Round House, Erdrich’s lyrical skill and emotional assurance have earned her a place alongside William Faulkner and Willa Cather as an author deeply rooted in the American landscape.
Now Erdrich brings us a lovely and meditative account of a trip through the lakes and islands of southern Ontario with her 18-month old baby and the baby’s father, an Ojibwe spiritual leader and guide. In this world, where her Ojibwe ancestors have lived for centuries, otter and moose still flourish, and ancient sturgeon leap in a glittering sunlit flash. But these natural splendors are just the backdrop to what Erdrich summons to life: the long, elemental tradition of storytelling that is in her blood. As she observes early on, her tribe’s very name derives from the word ozhibii’ige, to write. Her journey will link eloquent stone paintings a thousand years old with a magical island where a bookish recluse built an extraordinary, improbably library–and show how both have fueled her dreams.
At once an affirmation of a rich, resonant Native American past and a clear-eyed, open-hearted vision of a different and wider world, Books and Islands in Ojibwe Country is an irresistible self-portrait of a writer who speaks from America’s heart.