Books and Islands in Ojibwe Country: Traveling Through the Land of my Ancestors (Literary Travel)

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For more than twenty years Louise Erdrich has dazzled readers with the intricately wrought, deeply poetic novels which have won her a place among today's finest writers. Her nonfiction is equally eloquent, and this lovely memoir offers a vivid glimpse of the landscape, the people, and the long tradition of storytelling that give her work its magical, elemental force.

In a small boat like those her Native American ancestors have used for countless generations, she travels to Ojibwe home ground, the islands of Lake of the Woods in southern Ontario. Her only companions are her new baby and the baby's father, an Ojibwe spiritual leader, on a pilgrimage to the sacred rock paintings their people have venerated for centuries as mystical "teaching and dream guides," and where even today Ojibwe leave offerings of tobacco in token of their power. With these paintings as backdrop, Erdrich summons to life the Ojibwe's spirits and songs, their language and sorrows, and the tales that are in their blood, echoing through her own family's very contemporary American lives and shaping her vision of the wider world. Thoughtful, moving, and wonderfully well observed, her meditation evokes ancient wisdom, modern ways, and the universal human concerns we all share.

"This book is a treasure and a delight."—Minneapolis Star Tribune

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From the Back Cover:

For more than three decades, bestselling author Louise Erdrich has enthralled readers with dazzling novels that paint an evocative portrait of Native American life. From her dazzling first novel, Love Medicine, to the National Book Award-winning 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.

In Books and Islands in Ojibwe Country, Erdrich takes us on an illuminating tour through the terrain her ancestors have inhabited for centuries: the lakes and islands of southern Ontario. Summoning to life the Ojibwe's sacred spirits and songs, their language and sorrows, she considers the many ways in which her tribe—whose name derives from the word ozhibii'ige, "to write"—have influenced her. Her journey links ancient stone paintings with a magical island where a bookish recluse built an extraordinary library, and she reveals how both have transformed her.

A blend of history, mythology, and memoir, Books and Islands in Ojibwe Country is an enchanting meditation on modern life, natural splendor, and the ancient spirituality and creativity of Erdrich's native homeland—a long, elemental tradition of storytelling that is in her blood.

 

About the Author:

Louise Erdrich, daughter of an Ojibwe-French mother and a German-American father, is one of our foremost contemporary writers. Her first novel, Love Medicine, won the National Book Critics Circle Award and other prizes and launched a remarkable string of books that includes The Beet Queen, The Bingo Palace, Tales of Burning Love, and The Antelope Wife, among other triumphs. She lives in Minneapolis.

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