“The Painted Drum” by Louise Erdrich

After panning her most recent novel I decided to give an author another chance, and boy did she ever! “The Painted Drum” by Louise Erdrich came out in 2005. The novel has two main parts, and then returns and integrates. Each is quite different but entirely complementary, and the first sets a frame to understand the Ojibwe story of the second part. The Ojibwe story is numbing and beautiful in its appreciation of the human condition and a person, a narrator, who uses simple, natural words/worlds to reflect on great pain and struggle. I had a hard time stopping while reading the second part. If you like your reading punctuated by sighs as you come up out of the inner world, and you look forward to getting back into the immersion, this is it.

About mkevane

Economist at Santa Clara University and Director of Friends of African Village Libraries.
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