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The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse: A Novel Paperback – August 16, 2016
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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.
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“Funny, engrossing and revelatory.” — Wall Street Journal
“Stunning …a moving meditation … infused with mystery and wonder.” — Atlanta Journal-Constitution
“Nothing less than dazzling.” — USA Today
“A deeply affecting narrative . . . by turns comical and elegiac, farcical, and tragic.” — Michiko Kakutani, New York Times
“Spellbinding…profoundly moving.” — Elle
"You will be dazzled by the poetry of her language and her lighteninglike illuminations of the human condition." — Minneapolis St. Paul Magazine
"A magnificent storyteller … delivering musical prose charged by powerful metaphors." — St. Paul Star-Tribune
"Bold and imaginative." — Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
From the Back Cover
A New York Times Notable Book
For more than a half century, Father Damien Modeste has served his beloved people, 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 and is faced with the most difficult decision: Should he tell all and risk everything . . . or manufacture a protective history though he believes Leopolda's wonder-working is motivated solely by evil?
- Publisher : Harper Perennial; Reprint edition (August 16, 2016)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 400 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0061577626
- ISBN-13 : 978-0061577628
- Item Weight : 10.4 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.31 x 0.9 x 8 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #72,646 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- 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.