Cover image for The crown of Columbus : a novel
The crown of Columbus : a novel
Dorris, Michael.
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First edition.
Publication Information:
New York, NY : HarperCollins Publishers, [1991]

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Anthropologist Vivian Twostar uncovers what may be the scholarly coup of the century when she finds the legendary lost diary of Columbus. Lured by its promise of redeeming the past, Vivian, her son, and academician Roger Williams embark on a harrowing journey from icy New Hampshire to the idyllic Bahamas--an adventure that changes their lives forever. Copyright © Libri GmbH. All rights reserved.

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. Her other New York Times bestsellers include Future Home of the Living God (2017).

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Humor and invention guide the voyages of discovery wending through this lighthearted romantic mystery from husband-and-wife team Dorris ( The Broken Cord ) and Erdrich ( Love Medicine ). The tale is narrated in turn by feisty, pregnant Vivian Twostar, a Navaho-Irish 40-year-old associate professor of Native American Studies at Dartmouth, and by her on-again, off-again lover and fellow teacher, the very orderly ``Beacon Hill Episcopalian'' Roger Williams. In pursuit of tenure, Vivian, who lives a catch-up life with her indomitable mother and exasperating teenage son, has agreed to write an article about Christopher Columbus, who is also the subject of Roger's life's work, a poem expected to confirm his stature as an eminent narrative poet. Doing research, Vivian uncovers documents suggesting the existence of a long-lost diary of Columbus and a treasure he may have hidden in the New World, information that Roger, as expert, dismisses. Seeking the authentic Columbus, the two are buffeted by love and rage as they struggle to find a course that can accommodate their different views and very different natures. After some hilarious academic contretemps, the process leads to life-threatening adventures in the Bahamas and a series of personal and historical discoveries, at the center of which lies their enchanting and forceful infant daughter. Less tightly focused than the authors' other works, this leisurely love story is full of fanciful and convincing charm; readers may find Roger broadly drawn, yet the deeply etched Vivian is a true original (an ``indigenous iconoclast,'' Roger calls her) who leaves indelible traces. 150,000 first printing; $200,000 ad/promo; author tour; BOMC alternate; film rights sold to Cinecom; first serial to Caliban, Mother Jones, Redbook. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

After scoring substantial critical success individually (for Erdrich with the novels Love Medicine , LJ 10/1/84; The Beet Queen , LJ 8/86; etc.; and for Dorris, with A Yellow Raft in Blue Water , LJ 5/1/87, and the nonfiction The Broken Cord , LJ 7/89), this husband-and-wife team combine their talents to produce what looks to be a Big Time, commercially successful novel, pre-sold movie rights and all. Told in the very different voices of college professor lovers Vivian Twostar, Native American single mother, and Roger Williams, poet of an old New England family, the collaborative effort flows smoothly. Although estranged during Vivian's pregnancy, both are working on academic projects concerning the 500th anniversary of the discovery of North America by Columbus. The collision of their two lives is funny, vivid, and life-affirming; add an element of mystery and you have a sure-fire winner on all levels. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 1/91.--Ann H. Fisher, Radford P.L., Va. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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