At the core of Faye's life is the unresolved impact of her sister's death. Erdrich adroitly leaps from the drum's past to its present in the third story, a sad tale of a mother of three on the same reservation, who struggles to provide food for her children, and nearly loses all three in a snowstorm but for the haunting drum beats which lead them to shelter. By midwinter, the frost creeps beneath the road and flexes, creating heaves that force the cars to slow again. Her imagery is rich and satisfying, her characters very human and her writing a delight. Louise Erdrich is the author of fourteen novels as well as volumes of poetry, short stories, childrens books, and a memoir of early motherhood.
The bare bones of the plot summary in this book's jacket notes made me slow to begin reading, because they suggested an elegy. She attended the Johns Hopkins creative writing program and received fellowships at the McDowell Colony and the Yaddo Colony. Faye Travers risks her moral rectitude and her career as an Estates agent by stealing an incredible Native American drum. It called to her with a single beat and she was overwhelmed by its mystical po How does one even begin to review the writing of Louise Erdrich? It was slow to start for me but it eventually pulled me in. By subscribing, you get access to a huge library of multimedia content, which is updated daily. Louise Erdrich's descriptions of nature and animals were breath-taking giving a real sense of being in nature even when tucked up reading in an armchair thousands of miles away from her setting. Tell yourself that you tasted as many as you could.
Once the narration passed from Faye to the Ojibwe on the North Dakota reservation, I was bored. I almost choked on my coffee a few times when she came up with unexpected bits of funny. It is the reason you are here on earth. Compelling and unforgettable, bestselling author Louise Erdrich's Painted Drum explores the often fraught relationship between mothers and daughters, the strength of family, and the intricate rhythms of grief with all the grace, wit, and startling beauty that characterizes this acclaimed author's finest work. Believing she hears a sound emanating from it, she steals the drum, and makes the trek to the Ojibwe reservation in North Dakota to return it to whomever might own it there. It is bulky and hard to carry, like a package that keeps untying. How does the accidental fire at Ira's house awaken the drum, and what accounts for Shawnee's ability to hear it? The history of the drum is really a history of grief for dead children.
The narrator, Faye, is describing the road on which she lives: From the air, our road must look like a ball of rope flung down haphazardly, a thing of inscrutable loops and half-finished question marks. Her husband created the drum in memory of his daughter, eventually leaving it to his son. Rather she shows them with unsentimental clarity and a deep understanding for the forces which drive people to do what they do. More dysfunction, alcoholism, grief, and the ripple effects of tragic events. The loss of traditional knowledge is an additional thematic element. Marcia Robertson teaches English at Sweet Briar College in Virginia.
Somehow a few have slipped past me in more recent years. It is the reason you are here on earth. This one was a bit start and stop for me especially early on and didn't leave me with the sort of awe I have after reading some of Erdrich's books, but it does contain some of her characteristic lyricism, complex if sometimes puzzling relationships, sense of family and community, and lovely glimpses of some of the culture of the Native Americans she writes about also the awful legacy of immigrant Europeans. Her stories often border on spiritual. One day to the next. Her words resonate with ancient mysteries and intricate complexities which draw me into her characters' lives time and time again.
When I stopped reading last night with just 30 or so pages to go, my eyelids refusing to stay open a moment longer, I thought this was divided into three parts. I almost choked on my coffee a few times when she came up with unexpected bits of funny. Then I got involved in that story and it helped finish up the rest of the book. She also moves the story to the area in the upper midwest that has been the setting for the books I most appreciate. Photo: Hilary Abe Louise Erdrich is one of the most gifted, prolific, and challenging of contemporary Native American novelists.
She is an enrolled member of the Anishinaabe nation also known as Chippewa. The rest of the novel, told from various perspectives, follows the history of the drum in several episodes, moving further and further from the modest realism of the opening section. At first, it felt too flowery for me. There are a lot of characters and almost all of them have som I love how Louise Erdrich writes. And so begins an illuminating journey both backward and forward in time, following the strange passage of a powerful yet delicate instrument, and revealing the extraordinary lives it has touched and defined. I loved the first person narrative of this book. This was not an easy read.
And when it happens that you are broken, or betrayed, or left, or hurt, or death brushes near, let yourself sit by an apple tree and listen to the apples falling all around you in heaps, wasting their sweetness. In a final episode, Faye takes over the narrative again. In The Painted Drum we follow the story through the eyes of different people. Nobody can protect you from that, and living alone won't either, for solitude will also break you with its yearning. Visit our website and pages at for further information.