Monday, February 14, 2005

Crossing Another Book Off My List

Just 2 years after it was published (no moss on this rolling stone!), I finished Louise Erdrich's The Master Butchers Singing Club. Since it was by Louise Erdrich, chances were good that I'd like it. And I did. Just two quick comments:

1. What's up with the linear narrative? No Erdrich-like flights of fancy, no extended dream-like passages (well, not till the last chapter) -- just a straightforward, let-the-plot-propel-us-onward structure. Hmmm. Not since Crown of Columbus (co-written with her late husband, Michael Dorris) have I read such a conventionally written book by her.

2. Since this book focuses on different characters than Erdrich's usual cast, it was somewhat of a relief not to have to untangle the thicket of Nanapush/Lamartine/Kashpaw/Pillager lineages that I can NEVER keep straight. The partial family tree she provided in The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse helped, but some day I'd like the whole enchilada. (From horticulture to gastronomy -- how more mixed can my metaphors get?)