The Night Watchman by Louise Erdrich

Louise Erdrich is pretty consistent. She writes well, she creates colorful characters, she knows how to put together a narrative–but it just isn’t my style. I’m sure there’s part of it that’s cultural–she writes almost exclusively about Native Americans, often Chippewa, and there are aspects of world view I just can’t relate to–but I don’t think it’s just that. I want my fiction to feel more intimate than hers usually does. I’m more intrigued by internal struggle.

This book has the added complication of being set in real historical events, a 1953 attempt by the. U.S. government to terminate the Turtle Mountain band of Chippewa, which Erdrich’s grandfather was involved in resisting. That drama is the main structure of the book, and then there’s an individual love/family drama set within it, but they mesh awkwardly for me. Like she was trying too hard to put them in the same book.

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