Cover image for The last report on the miracles at Little No Horse
Title:
The last report on the miracles at Little No Horse
Author:
Erdrich, Louise.
Personal Author:
Edition:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : HarperCollins, [2001]

©2001
Physical Description:
361 pages ; 25 cm
Summary:
From the bestselling author of "Tracks" comes a dramatic sequel--a story of suspect miracles, tests of faith, and the corrosive and redemptive power of secrecy. Over the years, Father Damian has seen the reservation through its most severe crises, yet he is more than a heroic priest. He has lived with and served the Ojibwa people as a man of the cloth, and also as a woman. However, where does fact end and reality begin? NPR sponsorships. Deals with miracles, crises of faith, struggles with good & evil, temptation, & the corrosive & redemptive power of secrecy. For more than a half century, Father Damien Modeste has served his beloved people, the Ojibwa, on the remote reservation of Little No Horse. Compelled to his task by a direct mystical experience, Father Damien has made enormous sacrifices, and experienced the joys of commitment as well as deep suffering. Now, nearing the end of his life, Father Damien dreads the discovery of his physical identity, for he is a woman who has lived as a man. He imagines the undoing of all that he has accomplished -- sees unions unsundered, baptisms nullified, those who confessed to him once again unforgiven. To complicate his fears, his quiet life changes when a troubled colleague comes to the reservation to investigate the life of the perplexing, difficult, possibly false saint Sister Leopolda. Father Damien alone knows the strange truth of Sister Leopolda's piety, but these facts are bound up in his own secret. In relating his history and that of Leopolda, whose wonder working is documented but inspired, he believes, by a capacity for evil rather than the love of good, Father Damien is forced to choose: Should he reveal all he knows and risk everything? Or should he manufacture a protective history? In spinning out the tale of his life, Father Damien in fact does both. His story encompasses his life as a young woman, her passions, and the pestilence, tribal hatreds, and sorrows passed from generation to generation of Ojibwa. From the fantastic truth of Father Damien's origin as a woman to the hilarious account of the absurd demise of Nanapush, his best friend on the reservation, his story ranges over the span of the century. In a masterwork that both deepens and enlarges the world of her previous novels set on the same reservation, Louise Erdrich captures the essence of a time and the spirit of a woman who felt compelled by her beliefs to serve her people as a priest. The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse is a work of an avid heart, a writer's writer, and a storytelling genius.
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780060187279

9780060936105
Format :
Book

Available:*

Library
Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Status
Clarence Library X Adult Fiction Open Shelf
Searching...
Collins Library X Adult Fiction Open Shelf
Searching...
Lake Shore Library X Adult Fiction Open Shelf
Searching...
Lancaster Library X Adult Fiction Open Shelf
Searching...
Julia Boyer Reinstein Library X Adult Fiction Open Shelf
Searching...
Audubon Library X Adult Fiction Open Shelf
Searching...
Kenmore Library FICTION Adult Fiction Open Shelf
Searching...

On Order

Summary

Summary

A New York Times Notable Book

For more than a half century, Father Damien Modeste has served his beloved Native American tribe, the Ojibwe, on the remote reservation of Little No Horse. Now, nearing the end of his life, Father Damien dreads the discovery of his physical identity, for he is a woman who has lived as a man. To further complicate his quiet existence, a troubled colleague comes to the reservation to investigate the life of the perplexing, possibly false saint Sister Leopolda. Father Damien alone knows the strange truth of Leopolda's piety, but these facts are bound up in his own secret. He is faced with the most difficult decision: Should he tell all and risk everything . . . or manufacture a protective history for Leopolda, though he believes her wonder-working is motivated solely by evil?

In a masterwork that both deepens and enlarges the world of her previous novels set on the same reservation, Louise Erdrich captures the essence of a time and the spirit of a woman who felt compelled by her beliefs to serve her people as a priest. The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse is a work of an avid heart, a writer's writer, and a storytelling genius.


Author Notes

Karen Louise Erdrich was born on June 7, 1954 in Little Falls, Minnesota. Erdrich grew up in Wahpeton, North Dakota, where both of her parents were employed by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. She is a member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa. Erdrich graduated from Dartmouth College in 1976 with an AB degree, and she received a Master of Arts in creative writing from Johns Hopkins University in 1979.

Erdrich published a number of poems and short stories from 1978 to 1982. In 1981 she married author and anthropologist Michael Dorris, and together they published The World's Greatest Fisherman, which won the Nelson Algren Award in 1982. In 1984 she won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Love Medicine, which is an expansion of a story that she had co-written with Dorris. Love Medicine was also awarded the Virginia McCormick Scully Prize (1984), the Sue Kaufman Prize (1985) and the Los Angeles Times Award for best novel (1985).

In addition to her prose, Erdrich has written several volumes of poetry, a textbook, children's books, and short stories and essays for popular magazines. She has been the recipient of numerous awards for professional excellence, including the National Magazine Fiction Award in 1983 and a first-prize O. Henry Award in 1987. Erdrich has also received the Pushcart Prize in Poetry, the Western Literacy Association Award, the 1999 World Fantasy Award, and the Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction in 2006. In 2007 she refused to accept an honorary doctorate from the University of North Dakota in protest of its use of the "Fighting Sioux" name and logo.

Erdrich's novel The Round House made the New York Times bestseller list in 2013.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

It's high time to acknowledge that Erdrich's ongoing sequence of novels about Native American life on an Ojibwe reservation in North Dakota over the last century stands at the pinnacle of recent American fiction. Her latest exploration of the interlocking lives of several generations of characters from her fictional reservation works beautifully as a reprise of all that has come before: the action, centered on the life of a priest who served the reservation for nearly a century, jumps back and forth in time, offering a chance for various figures from the principal families in Erdrich's world--Nanapush, Kashpaw, Pillager, Morrisey--to cross the stage once more, viewing life, as always, with passion, poetry, and a self-sustaining sense of the absurd. This time, though, all of that is glimpsed through a new and compelling filter: Father Damien, who is, in fact, Agnes De Witt, the common-law wife of a murdered German farmer, who through a typically absurd sequence of events, finds her mission in life by impersonating a dead priest. As Father Damien, in his (her) 90s and nearing death, attempts to explain to a younger priest why Sister Leopolda should not be made a saint, we experience the history of the reservation from the unique point of view of an outsider who gradually, under the tutelage of the wise and hysterically funny Nanapush, throws in her spiritual lot with the Ojibwe. (Erdrich, always a master of the set piece, outdoes herself here with the tall tale of Nanapush's encounter with a frightened moose, perhaps the most wonderfully comic sequence in the author's entire oeuvre.) This is Erdrich writing at the peak of her powers, embracing both the earthy sensuality and abiding spirituality of her characters and energizing the whole with a raucous humor that is at once self-deprecating and life-enhancing. --Bill Ott


Publisher's Weekly Review

Erdrich seems to be inhabiting her characters, so intense and viscerally rendered are her portrayals. Her prose shimmers: a piano being carried across the plains is "an ebony locust." This novel will be remembered for a cornucopia of set pieces, all bizarre and stunning: wounded and taken hostage by a bank robber and pinned to the running board of his Overland automobile, Agnes, "her leg a flare of blood," briefly touches hands with her astonished lover as the car crosses his path; old man Nanapush, impaled on fish hooks that pin him to a boat that's hitched to the antlers of a wounded moose, careens through the woods in delirious exhaustion. Writing with subtle compassion and magical imagination, Erdrich has done justice to the complexities of existence in general and Native American life in particular. First serial selections in the New Yorker have whetted appetites for this novel, and picks by BOMC and QPB, major ad/promo and an author tour will give it wide exposure. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Library Journal Review

Already thrice excerpted in The New Yorker, this work features Father Damien, devoted servant of the Ojibwa people, whose past is catching up with him. FREDRIKSSON, Marianne. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Excerpts

Excerpts

The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse A Novel Chapter One Naked Woman Playing Chopin 1910-1912 Eighty-some years previous, through a town that was to flourish and past a farm that would disappear, the river slid--all that happened began with that flow of water. The town on its banks was very new and its main street was a long curved road that followed the will of a muddy river full of brush, silt, and oxbows that threw the whole town off the strict clean grid laid out by railroad plat. The river flooded each spring and dragged local backyards into its roil, even though the banks were strengthened with riprap and piled high with rocks torn from reconstructed walls and foundations. It was a hopelessly complicated river, one that froze deceptively, broke rough, drowned one or two every year in its icy run. it was a dead river in some places, one that harbored only carp and bullheads. Wild in others, it lured moose down from Canada into the town limits. When the land along its banks was newly broken, paddleboats and barges of grain moved grandly from its source to Winnipeg, for the river flowed inscrutably north. Across from what would become church land and the town park, over on the Minnesota side, a farm spread generously up and down the river and back into wide hot fields. The bonanza farm belonged to easterners who had sold a foundry in Vermont and with their money bought the flat vastness that lay along the river. They raised astounding crops when the land was young--rutabagas that weighed sixty pounds, wheat unbearably lush, corn on cobs like truncheons. Then six grasshopper years occurred during which even the handles on the hoes and rakes were eaten and a U.S. cavalry soldier, too, partially devoured while he lay drunk in the insects' path. The enterprise suffered losses on a grand scale. The farm was split among four brothers, eventually, who then sold off half each so that by the time Berndt Vogel escaped the latest war of Europe, during which he'd been chopped mightily but inconclusively in six places by a lieutenant's saber and then kicked by a horse so ever after his jaw didn't shut right, there was just one beautiful and peaceful swatch of land about to go for grabs. In the time it would take for him to gather the money--by forswearing women, drinking cheap beers only, and working twenty-hour days--to retrieve it from the local bank, the price of that farm would drop further, further, and the earth rise up in a great ship of destruction. Sails of dust carried half of Berndt's lush dirt over the horizon, but enough remained for him to plant and reap six fields. So Berndt survived. On his land there stood a hangarlike barn that once had housed teams of great blue Percherons and Belgian draft horses. Only one horse was left, old and made of brutal velvet, but the others still moved in the powerful synchronicity of his dreams. Berndt liked to work in the heat of this horse's breath. The vast building echoed and only one small part was still in use-housing a cow, chickens, one depressed pig. Berndt kept the rest in decent repair not only because as a good German he must waste nothing that had come his way but because he saw in those grand dust-filled shafts of light something he could worship. The spirit of the farm was there in the lost breath of horses. He fussed over the one remaining mammoth and imagined one day his farm entire, vast and teeming, crews of men under his command, a cookhouse, bunkhouse, equipment, a woman and children sturdily determined to their toil. A garden in which seeds bearing the scented pinks and sharp red geraniums of his childhood were planted and thrived. How surprised he was to find, one morning, as though sown by the wind and summoned by his dreams, a woman standing barefoot, starved, and frowzy in the doorway of his barn. She was pale but sturdy, angular, a strong flower, very young, nearly bald and dressed in a rough shift. He blinked stupidly at the vision. Light poured around her like smoke and swirled at her gesture of need. She spoke with a low, gravelly abruptness: "Ich habe Hunger." By the way she said it, he knew she was a Swabian and thereforehe tried to thrust the thought from his mind-possessing certain unruly habits in bed. She continued to speak, her voice husky and bossy. He passed his hand across his eyes. Through the gown of nearly transparent muslin he could see that her breasts were, excitingly, bound tight to her chest with strips of cloth. He blinked hard. Looking directly into her eyes, he experienced the vertigo of confronting a female who did not blush or look away but held him with an honest human calm. He thought at first she must be a loose woman, fleeing a brothel--had Fargo got so big? Or escaping an evil marriage, perhaps. He didn't know she was from God. Sister Cecilia In the center of the town on the other side of the river there stood a convent made of yellow bricks. Hauled halfway across Minnesota from Little Falls brickworks by pious drivers, they still held the peculiar sulfurous moth gold of the clay outside that town. The word Fleisch was etched in shallow letters on each one. Fleisch Company Brickworks. Donated to the nuns at cost. The word, of course, was covered by mortar each time a brick was laid. Because she had organized a few discarded bricks behind the convent into the base for a small birdbath, the youngest nun knew, as she gazed at the mute order of the convent's wall, that she lived within the secret repetition of that one word... The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse A Novel . Copyright © by Louise Erdrich . Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold. Excerpted from The Last Report on the Miracles At: A Novel by Louise Erdrich All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Google Preview