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The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse: A Novel Kindle Edition
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A New York Times Notable Book
“Stunning. . . a moving meditation. . . infused with mystery and wonder.” —Atlanta Journal-Constitution
In a masterwork that both deepens and enlarges the world of her previous novels, acclaimed author Louise Erdrich captures the essence of a time and the spirit of a woman who felt compelled by her beliefs to serve her people as a priest. The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horsedeals with miracles, crises of faith, struggles with good and evil, temptation, and the corrosive and redemptive power of secrecy.
For more than a half century, Father Damien Modeste has served his beloved Native American tribe, the Ojibwe, on the remote reservation of Little No Horse. Now, nearing the end of his life, Father Damien dreads the discovery of his physical identity, for he is a woman who has lived as a man. To further complicate his quiet existence, a troubled colleague comes to the reservation to investigate the life of the perplexing, possibly false saint Sister Leopolda. Father Damien alone knows the strange truth of Leopolda's piety, but these facts are bound up in his own secret. He is faced with the most difficult decision: Should he tell all and risk everything . . . or manufacture a protective history for Leopolda, though he believes her wonder-working is motivated solely by evil?
The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse is a work of an avid heart, a writer's writer, and a storytelling genius.
How--and why--could such a deception last so long? That's the first mystery. The second begins when Father Jude Miller (a name familiar to readers of The Beet Queen) arrives to investigate the life of Sister Leopolda (or Pauline Puyat, another familiar name). Was Leopolda a saint? Or its opposite, whatever that is? Miracles, after all, are a part of the reservation's everyday life; for every nun's stigmata there's a secular wonder like the death of Nanapush. Indeed, the chapter detailing this old trickster's demise is the kind of earthy, tragicomic fable Erdrich does to perfection, including as it does an extended trial by moose, death by flatulence, and not one but two lustful resurrections.
Erdrich's writing is at its best when she chronicles the bittersweet humor of reservation life. It's at its worst, sadly, when she cranks up the fog machine and goes for the violins. ("He had the odd sensation that petals drifted in the air between them, petals of a fragrant and papery citrus velvet," she tells us, telegraphing Father Jude's attraction to a woman.) But at least the book's sins are sins of ambition--this is a novelist who revisits the same territory because the capaciousness of her vision demands it. Readers may forgive Erdrich's vagueness about Father Damien's religious calling, but they will never forget her images, as lovely and surprising as figures glimpsed in a dream: the devil in the shape of a black dog, his paw in a bowl of soup; freshly planted pansies, nodding at the priests' feet "like the faces of spoiled babies"; a woman in a billowing white nightdress riding a grand piano through the "gray soup" of a flood. Moments like these are small miracles of their own. --Mary Park--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
- ASIN : B000FC12JG
- Publisher : HarperCollins e-books; Reprint edition (March 17, 2009)
- Publication date : March 17, 2009
- Language : English
- File size : 2743 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 384 pages
- Page numbers source ISBN : 0060931221
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #170,963 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
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The novel opens in 1996, when Sister Leopolda is being considered for sainthood because of some alleged miracles associated with her. The Vatican sends a priest to investigate the merits of Sister Leopolda. But Father Damien knows many sinister truths about the nun, learned in the confessional. The aged priest writes to the Pope, one of many letters he has written to the Pontiff, to reveal the truth about Sister Leopolda. Damien has remained silent about the woman for decades, not only because of the sanctity of the confessional, but also because she knew his secret. As he writes, he reflects back on his unusual life. The novel moves back and forth in time over the period of almost a century.
I have struggled with how to rate this book. I began this book with great anticipation. Reading a novel about Native Americans really appealed to me. In addition, the book received high marks in most reviews. Nearly two-thirds of readers gave the book five stars. Some lauded its almost dreamlike quality and magical imagination. Many praised her prose. Others applauded her originality in storytelling.
In the end, I'm probably being generous in giving the book three stars. In my opinion, Erdrich's book is not nearly as wondrous as some claim. Originality alone is not sufficient to make a good novel. The story was outlandish--too much so for me. One of the greatest problems is that we never quite get to know the characters, perhaps because Erdich is so focused on studying what drives the heart. She creates many complex characters, but doesn't fully explore them and let her readers get to know them. As a result, I didn't find the characters to be very likeable. Some find the character of Agnes/Father Damien to be "pleasantly" flawed. I did not. Some have admired how Father Damien adapts his Catholic beliefs based on the Ojibwe traditions. Such a practice has a name; it's called syncretism, and it's a practice that should be condemned, not esteemed.
Ultimately, I just couldn't get into this book. The book was a chore for me to read. The story dragged and did not hold my interest. I also thought the writing was choppy. I seriously considered not finishing the book. I only finished because I felt compelled to finish it.
Top reviews from other countries
Much though I love the books, I would have relaxed more had it been a little less difficult to read and maybe that is my fault, some of it, most of it is beautiful and insightful...some of it is just a muddle and you make of it what you will....like life.
Read it with your heart.