By Stephanie E. Ponder
OF THE RECURRING themes that
run through the works of Louise
Erdrich—including family, interconnectedness and Native American culture—justice has taken center stage in
two of her recent novels. It’s also a
prominent topic in her latest work, this
month’s book buyer’s pick, LaRose.
The novel begins with the youngest
son of the Iron family, LaRose, being
handed over to the Ravich family after
their son, Dusty, is killed by LaRose’s
father in a hunting accident.
“I wanted to examine the piece of traditional
justice that this represents and how it would play out
in contemporary times,” explains Erdrich, a Costco
member. “I talked in [two other] books about justice. One is about rough justice [in The Round
House]. It’s about complete vengeance.
“The [other] book—that’s The Plague of Doves—
is about when justice is impossible. What happens
when there is no possibility of justice? And then this
book is, I guess, about how the application of tradi-
tional justice looks in this day and age.”
The idea for LaRose came from her mother,
“who mentioned an Ojibwe family who allowed par-
ents enduring the loss of a child to adopt their child,”
Signed book gıveaway
COSTCO HAS 50 copies of Louise Erdrich’s novel
LaRose with signed book plates to give away. To enter,
go to costcoconnectionbookgiveaway.com.
NO PURCHASE, PAYMENT OR OPT-IN OF ANY KIND IS
NECESSARY TO EN TER OR WIN THIS SWEEPS TAKES.
Purchase will not improve odds of winning. Sweepstakes is
sponsored by HarperCollins, 10 East 53rd St., New York, NY
10022. Open to legal residents of the U.S. (except Puerto Rico)
who are age 18 or older at the time of entry. One entry per
household. Entries must be received before the June issue is
available online, which will happen around May 26, 2016.
Winners will be randomly selected and noti;ed by mail
on or before July 1, 2016. The value of the prize is $27.99. Void
where prohibited. Winners are responsible for all applicable
federal, state and local taxes. Odds of winning depend on the
number of eligible entries received. Employees of Costco or
HarperCollins and their families are not eligible.
IF YOU EVER begin to
doubt the power of a
good story, this month’s
book buyer’s pick, Louise
Erdrich’s novel LaRose,
is for you.
In North Dakota in
1999, Landreaux Iron
accidentally shoots his
neighbor’s young son,
Dusty, in a hunting
accident. The incident
rocks the two families,
and Landreaux and his
wife do their best to
make amends by sending
their young son, LaRose,
to replace Dusty. A
surprising new normal
develops, revealing how
interconnected we all are.
Moving back and
forth in time and giving
readers a glimpse into the
lives of many characters,
Erdrich weaves a story
;lled with sadness, love,
jealousy, acceptance and
so much more. (Item
For more book picks,
see page 97.
Erdrich writes in the book’s acknowledgments.
“[My mother] doesn’t really tell stories, and that [mention] just intrigued
me to no end,” says Erdrich, who is of
Ojibwa and French-American descent
on her mother’s side and German-American descent on her father’s side of
The author, who has six children,
including a daughter still in high
school, says that she never meant to
write a book that opens with the death of a child. “I
really didn’t intend to write this book at all. I had
another book in mind entirely, and this idea really
took over,” says Erdrich from her home in Minnesota.
Explaining that she doesn’t know how she’d go
on under those circumstances, she says she recognizes that the new normal becomes life, and so she
began examining how her characters would deal
with that new normal.
The writer’s life is the only one Erdrich ever
imagined for herself. Sure, she’s worked her fair
share of odd jobs, but, she explains, “The random
jobs were really what gave me the absolute despera-
tion about writing. I knew I would go crazy if I con-
tinued to do some of these jobs for my whole life.”
Erdrich’s connection to books also figures in
Birchbark Books & Native Arts, the bookstore she
owns in Minneapolis. The 800-square-foot shop
specializes in Native American books.
With a life still governed by her daughter’s
school calendar, Erdrich remains unsure how she
manages to squeeze in the writing she does. “I love
to be in my writing, and so I try to get there when-
ever I can,” she says. “Some days I only have a line or
two that I can add, but I do add them.”
Time permitting, Erdrich likes to sew and
paint, among other things. “I like going to
powwows. I like hanging out. I like just
being in the woods. [But] I don’t do
these things, because I always have to
get back to the writing, which I love to
death,” she says.
“I never let myself stop [writing].
When it’s your life and what you have to do,
then it’s a pleasure.” C
Author explores family and justice in LaRose
Do the write thing
Pennie Clark Ianniciello
Costco book buyer
OUR DIGITAL EDITIONS
Click here for a video of Louise Erdrich
talking about LaRose. (See page 15