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The Antelope Wife Paperback – 21 Oct 2002

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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Flamingo (21 Oct. 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007136366
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007136360
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 1.7 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 293,770 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Louise Erdrich is one of the most gifted, prolific, and challenging of American novelists. Her fiction reflects aspects of her mixed heritage: German through her father, and French and Ojibwa through her mother. She is the author of many novels, the first of which, Love Medicine, won the National Book Critics Circle Award and the last of which, The Round House, won the National Book Award for Fiction in 2012. She lives in Minnesota.

Product Description

Review

‘A fiercely imagined tale of love and loss, a story that manages to transform tragedy into comic redemption, sorrow into heroic survival.’ New York Times

‘This is realism at its most magical, in a novel as satisfying as any Erdrich has written.’ Kirkus

‘Richly cadenced, deeply textured, Erdrich’s writing has the lustre and sheen of poetry.’ Los Angeles Times

‘[An] extraordinary new offering of history, lore, obsession, loss, and love. Beautifully, extravagantly, in narrative fragments that mix metaphor and story, Erdrich creates a seemingly haphazard, totally absorbing series of oblique snapshots of these characters.’ San Francisco Chronicle

About the Author

Louise Erdrich is one of the most gifted, prolific, and challenging of American novelists. Her fiction reflects aspects of her mixed heritage: German through her father, and French and Ojibwa through her mother. She is the author of many novels, the first of which, Love Medicine, won the National Book Critics Circle Award and the last of which, The Round House, won the National Book Award for Fiction in 2012. She lives in Minnesota.


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First Sentence
Deep in the past during a spectacular cruel raid upon an isolated Ojibwa village mistaken for hostile during the scare over the starving Sioux, a dog bearing upon its back a frame-board tikinagun enclosing a child in moss, velvet, embroideries of beads, was frightened into the vast carcass of the world west of the Otter Tail River. Read the first page
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 26 Mar. 1998
Format: Hardcover
To follow the trail of Erdrich's narrative in The Antelope Wife, remember a few essential things:
1. Time is not a linear process but a pool of information at which we drink. On the last page the story folds back nearly a hundred years to its beginning and, in the same paragraph, reaches forward twenty-five years past its own end, because what we need to know swims quietly in those two places.
2. The Going Out is always temporary. Always, Coming Home is good. Everything is out of balance until the antelope wife is allowed to go home.
3. Laughing at the silliness of love is neither impious nor cynical. Like Tales of Burning Love, The Antelope Wife ends with a ludicrous love scene, almost as funny as Jack's peanut race and wonderfully touching.
4. It was written, as Erdrich wisely warns us, before the suicide of her husband, Michael Dorris.

Anglo hippies, during the Vietnam War, were endlessly puzzled by American Indian patriotism; they looked for explanations in irony, innocence, 'warrior values.' The truth is simple. American Indian cultures are essentially conservative, conservators of home, tradition, the foundations that the past lays for the future. If their enemies are also conservative, so what? If your enemies love dancing, do you learn not to?

Erdrich's stories turn like foraging herds through their own territory, back upon themselves. They turn upon meals, because the Ojibwa and Cree worried enough about food to create a spirit of starvation, the windigo. The windigo dog, whose stories balance against so much of the novel's action, is that spirit, wary but accommodated.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 13 Mar. 1998
Format: Hardcover
(First of all, it is a NOVEL, not a collection of short stories as is advertised in Amazon.Com.) The Antelope Wife is Louise Erdrich's best novel since Love Medicine. She uses language like paint, creating pictures and moments. Unfortunately, the plot is still hard to follow, and the characters are so similar that you find yourself having to scan backwards to try to remember who's who. Her symbolism in this book include: Men nursing infants, women nursing dogs, beadwork, twins, baked goods (playing the same role that meat played in Beet Queen), plains Indians, urban Indians, and dogs, some eaten. In her non-fiction book The Blue Jay's Dance, Erdrich writes: "I do not like cats, so I am fascinated by their silken ways." As a reader, I do not like Erdrich, so I am fascinated by the words she chooses to put on the page.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Brida TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 28 Feb. 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is the first novel that I have read by Erdrich, so I cannot com[pare to her other works. However, if any of them are this good, she is definitely onto a winner.
Underlying the whole of this novel is the idea that ever since Creation, there are duel forces in the world - one to destroy, the other to create. Harmony and balance between these forces continually change; ultimately it is down to there being good and evil in the world, and how they dominate things at different times.
Although it is a complicated story to provide a synopsis for (because of the complicated family trees), the book is about two families and how their lives interweave with eachother. Women play a great role in this book, but at the heart of the entire story there are two women, Sweetheart Calico (the Antelope Wife), and a younger girl, Cally. Sweetheart Calico is a woman who is kidnapped from her daughters by Klaus Shawano, a man so overcome with love for her it borders on obsession. He keeps her with him by tying her wrist to his with Sweetheart Calico fabric (hence her 'name'). But his abducted wife is a starnge breed of woman - her real name is not known and she doesn't speak until the end of the novel. Cally is the daughter of Rozin Roy. Her twin sister died when younger, the result of their father's botched suicide attempt. As a young woman, Cally wishes to find her place within her family tree. Part of this process is discovering what her Indian name is and its significance - naming is very important in the Native American culture.
But the stories of these two women are only part of this incredible book. Cally's mother for example is married to Richard Whiteheart Beads, but is intensely in love with a baker, Frank.
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Format: Paperback
Intense and resonant writing, every word placed accurately in the pattern like the beading that the Indian women in the story sew. It has to be only the words she has selected. No other word would ever do. There is one short section, a handful of paragraphs, where this is not the case and this shows up the rest of the book for its brilliance and sheen and power, again like the beads that are a recurring motif throughout. Each character is precisely rendered in his or her individual speech. Erdrich is searching out the patterns in her long view of six generations in a wide family: accidents of birth; the significance of names; responsibility and ownership within family relationships; the good man (the master butcher in another book, the master baker in this one); the well-intenioned snagged on their own short view and consequent lack of hope; the power of the bottle; the flimsiness of family structure underpinned by the strength and endurance of love; the longings that propel us forward. "We stand on tiptoe, trying to see over the edge, and only catch a glimpse of the next bead on the string .... the needle flashing over the horizon." Erdrich sees further over the edge than we do; she has an insight into the native American holistic view.
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