so far, this novel has been the most difficult of them all for me to read and enjoy. partly because it is much more about the native community living out 'in the wilds' (on their allotment lands) in their traditional manner. it's interesting, of course, but isn't something i relate to as much, personally, except in terms of the backpacking i've done. also, i never enjoy reading about witchcraft - probably because it makes me feel anxious - and there is some of that in this book. there is an amazing moose-hunting scene, and i have to say louise erdrich makes another time and place come alive most convincingly. history and anthropology never read better. but i found it extremely difficult to see this family lose its land. i knew all along that it was coming, and it was just wrenching and agonizing when it came. still, i think that if i'm going to immerse myself in learning about this part of our history (and i find i can use the word 'our' in a very inclusive sense after all), there is nothing for it but to endure the pain. the more i learn about our indigenous forms of spirituality - and i am grateful to my ancestors for guiding me back to them and showing me how to make the connections - the more i can see how they could - possibly - survive all that pain. not that everyone has done so, by a long shot. but i can see the way. it is really quite amazing.
now i am reading 'the crown of columbus,' a book Erdrich wrote with her former husband who is now deceased. this book is interesting in a whole other way, and i'll write more about it when i've completed it.