Erdrich’s latest is a stunning chronicle of one devastating summer that forever divides a young man's life into Before and After. It's heartbreaking, but not in the way you'd expect. The catalyst of events is a brutal attack on a Reservation woman. This is awful, but what really affected me was her son Joe’s struggle to process the change in his mother, and solve the mystery in order to bring her peace.
Erdrich’s mastery of the written word is obvious in her perceptive and compassionate portrayal of our teenage hero. She adroitly tackles huge concepts like racism, vengeance, puberty and friendship and balances Joe’s journey with funny (often hilarious) visits to neighboring friends and family, many of whom you’ll recognize from Plague of Doves. And if you haven’t read Plague yet, well, that’s just one more treat to look forward to, as is her newest novel, La Rose, coming out mid-May. ~ Dana