LaRose by Louise Erdrich - review by Elspeth Barker

Elspeth Barker

Ancestral Voices



Corsair 372pp £18.99 order from our bookshop

The first thing to realise in this complicated book is that there are five LaRoses, some living and some spirits, descending in a line from the first. The central LaRose is a small boy; the others are all women. One early autumn afternoon in 1999, Landreaux Iron, father of little LaRose, is stalking a fine buck on the edge of the Ojibwe reservation in North Dakota where they live. He hopes to provide winter meat for his and his neighbour’s family. He fires his gun. The buck runs into the trees. He has killed a child, LaRose’s playmate and cousin, Dusty Ravich.

Grief and guilt and unquenchable yearning overwhelm the pages. Everyone reacts differently. The fathers fight and prepare for the millennium as for a siege. Dusty’s mother, Nola, makes cakes every day; her daughter hides them in lockers in their garage. Nola also tries to seduce a priest and to hang

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

OUP Niven

Follow Literary Review on Twitter