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The Bingo Palace Paperback – 19 Jul 2004

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Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial; New Ed edition (19 July 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0006547095
  • ISBN-13: 978-0006547099
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 1.7 x 13 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 778,167 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.

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Review

‘Louise Erdrich is the most interesting American novelist to have appeared in years.' Philip Roth

‘Erdrich’s prose has a compelling pulse to it. It is fluent and seductive, with the vigour and erotic potency of good rock music.’ Sunday Times

'Beautiful … ‘The Bingo Palace’ shows us a place where love, fate and chance are woven together like a braid.' New York Times

‘In its empathy, its poetry and its sheer narrative power, 'The Bingo Palace' confirms Erdrich as one of the greatest composers writing today.’ Independent on Sunday

'The power of Louise Erdrich's writing lies in the clear access she has to her characters' thoughts and feelings, and her ability to translate those feelings into words that are both poetic and unforced. ‘The Bingo Palace’ is a beautiful novel, mysterious and revelatory, from a powerful American voice.' Erica Wagner, The Times

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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"ON MOST WINTER DAYS, LULU LAMARTINE DID NOT STIR UNTIL the sun cast patch of warmth for her to bask in the purr." Read the first page
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

0 of 3 people found the following review helpful By C. Ostrer on 11 July 2009
Format: Paperback
thanks very much, great to use your service. This is one of my all time favourite books and lovely to now own it.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 17 reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Richly told, but too mythic 9 Sept. 2004
By Lynn Harnett - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Turtleback
Erdrich's latest novel of modern native American life centers on a bright, but aimless young man. Lipsha Morrisey is adrift, one foot in America, one on the North Dakota reservation. Son of a crazy woman and a convict, the tribe has given up on the young man who once showed promise - a product of families recalled from Erdrich's previous books "(Love Medicine," "The Beet Queen," "Tracks").

Summoned back to the reservation by his grandmother for reasons that never come clear - a last chance to make something of himself as an Indian? Lipsha falls in love with the beautiful Shawnee Ray, who's slated to marry the tribal entrepreneur, her son's father, Lyman Lamartine. Lyman is handsome, muscled, skilled in tribal traditions, worldly wealthy and ambitious for tribal power and American success. He is all that Lipsha is not.

But Lipsha believes the strength of his love is a match for all of Lyman's assets. Endowed with his mother's luck, granted him in a vision devoid of love, Lipsha begins to win at Bingo. For Shawnee Ray he amasses unearned wealth, squanders his spiritual power, dreams of greatness in his future, and wastes his present in floundering and backsliding.

Although Lipsha's present is the primary focus, the novel dips into the past with chapters centered around other tribal members including both his grandmothers, his mother, Lyman, Shawnee Ray, and Zelda Kashpaw,Lipsha's aunt and Shawnee's self-appointed guardian. There's also a Greek Chorus sort of voice that speaks with the whole tribe's sorrowful wisdom.

This organization keeps a certain distance between the novel and the reader. Lipsha's obsession widens the gulf. His hunger for Shawnee Ray so overwhelms that it bores. Shawnee becomes the focus of Lipsha's every act but there's so little contact between them that passion never develops into love. Lipsha never develops at all.

Erdrich's prose is vivid and spare, always flowing, moving. Every sentence seems infused with the long history, hardship and spiritual mystery of Indian life. Her characters are enigmatic and firmly anchored in the Dakota setting. But for all this richness, the story never connects, remaining more mysterious than moving. Readers of her earlier novels, who can place this one in a wider context, should enjoy the book more than new readers who may be left cold by too-brief glimpses into too many hearts.
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Unexpected enjoyment in an off-the-wall world 14 Dec. 1996
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I had not expected to like this book... when I began it, I was sure that I would have to force myself to the end because I tend to like the romantic happily-ever-after sort of story, but once I began, Erdrich caught me in the absurdities of the world of Lipsha. I have read many reviews that do not find Lipsha an especially likable character, but I liked him despite the fact that he was the sort who would instinctively choose the wrong way to do anything. The sheer absurdity of Erdrich's work, including a food fight in Dairy Queen between romantic rivals, a vision quest that brought forth a talking skunk, and a ghostly mother who wanted the T-bird that her insurance money bought, adds just enough humor to make even the defeats of Lipsha amusing rather than tragic. The book is worth a try, especially if seen in terms of Lipsha's returning home to find the kinship with the land that he had lost -- a slow healing process. The skunk tells him, "It ain't real estate," and at the base of all the other adventures he begins to realize this, but as with so many young people, the discovery is slow coming and fraught with disasters
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
"Death is the golden key that opens the palace of eternity." John Milton 29 Jun. 2010
By michael a. draper - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This is a story of the growth and maturation of Lipshaw Morrisey.

Lipshaw is the illegitimate son of June Kashpaw and Gary Nanapush. He's summoned back to the reservation by his grandmother Lulu Martine. Her method of summons is to send a wanted poster with his father's photo on it.

This effective wake up call makes Lipshaw examine his life. He thinks of the world of drugs, his dead end job and bleak future. After looking at the direction he was going, he packs his car and heads back to the reservation.

When Lipshaw was a child we learn that "...spirits pulled his fingers." He was a hope for the people. He finished high school and did well on the North Dakota college tests but became another reservation statistic.

There are few jobs available for someone without training or education and he accepts a job as night watchman at the Bingo Palace. He also sees Shawnee Ray and falls in love with her. He isn't alone in his pursuit of her as she is also being sought after by Lipshaw's boss, his uncle Lyman Lamartine.

Erdrich's writing is rich with description and imagery. When Lipshaw and Shawnee Ray are with friends, she asks if he wants to kiss her. He answers, "Not here, our first kiss has to be a magic moment only we can share."

Louise Erdrich possesses a unique talent for creating characters who have an individuality that makes the reader want to learn more of their lives. With Lipshaw, we see his early promise but like many members of the Chippewa Nation, he seems content with a meager existence, his position as night watchman and his bingo earnings.

There are streams of hope in Shawnee Ray's future goals but we learn that many goals are just dreams that fade away in the mist.
10 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Bits are wonderful, but still my least favorite of Erdrich's 13 Mar. 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Erdrich's novels are all about the same characters and setting, and people and stories overlap and intertwine. But this is the only novel that doesn't feel complete in and of itself. Parts of the book are simply wonderful--particularly, Lipsha's account of how he came to get a tatoo. Worth the price of admission for that story alone--but still, for an Erdrich fan, a bit of a disappointment.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Literary Masterpiece 6 May 2007
By B. Singer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This being one of Louise Erdrich's earlier works, it forms the basis and framework for the wonderful works that follow. This purchase was a gift, as it is one of my very favorite books by any writer, nevermind by Louise Erdrich, and I have an older edition permanently placed in my front bookcase (for ease or re-reads). Please, read this great book and then what follows along with the connected works by another great writer, Winona Laduke, and you have weeks, months and years of wonderful literary experiences...which will stay with you forever...I don't really want to spoil the fun, except to say that both Erdrich and Laduke write beyond the Native American genre and world: they touch the human condition and offer the experience to the reader....
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