The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse
The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse Author:Louise Erdrich For more than a half century, Father Damien Modeste has served his beloved people, the Ojibwe, on the remote reservation of Little No Horse. Now, nearing the end of his life, Father Damien dreads the discovery of his physical identity, for he is a woman who has lived as a man. To complicate his fears, his quiet life changes when a troubled colle... more »ague comes to the reservation to investigate the life of the perplexing, difficult, possibly false saint Sister Leopolda. Father Damien alone knows the strange truth of Sister Leopolda's piety and is faced with the most difficult decision of his life: Should he reveal all he knows and risk everything? Or should he manufacture a protective history though he believes Leopolda's wonder-working is motivated by evil?« less
Erdrich never fails to amaze me with her style of writing. The characters in her books appear as main characters in one book, as a backround story in another. Each book can be read alone but reading any of her books can remind you of another, can answer a questions about another character. I have loved them all. She is my favorite author.
This is perhaps my second favorite of all of her books, bringing back beloved characters, surprises, and tying things up a bit. If you've followed her novels and love the characters, I highly recommend this one.
A beguiling, intriguing story! I applaud the author for having such imagination and being able to write so well. I started this book this morning, thinking I would merely scan it to see if I would like it - and now I cannot put it down.
This is probably the best book I've read so far by Louise Erdrich! It is joyful and miraculous. "Lyrical....A lavishly written, diffusely plotted novel about the passion- both religious and carnal--of Father Damien." Boston Sunday Globe. "A deeply affecting narrative...by turns comical and elegiac, farcical and tragic." New York Times
Intertwined stories of the unexpected history of the new priest who has arrived at an Ojibwe resevation in northern Minnesota and the families who live there, only tangentially related to the investigation of one of the sisters at the mission for possible sainthood.
Regular readers of Erdrich will see familiar themes emerging here, and recaps or foreshadowings of other incidents to be more fully developed in later works (specifically, 'Four Souls'). There's humor and heartbreak and inevitably puzzlement, misunderstanding, and disappointment when two cultures with exceedingly different worldviews rub up against one another in splendid isolation from either's homeworld.
As Father Damien's long life of service nears its end, the question of whether or not deep secrets ought to be revealed. The reader has been aware of some of them from the get-go, may have figured out others along the way, and will undoubtedly be surprised by some. Erdrich performs a masterful dance here, weaving between past and present, and doing it all with a lyrical understanding of the human heart.
I found myself chuckling and enjoying this read so very much. The character of Father Damien Modeste is well developed. Found the transition from a nun named Sister Cecelia to Agnes, the live-in common law wife, to Father Damien Modeste fascinating. As she develops her persona as a priest one can't help but smile or chuckle out loud. While she operates as a priest she doesn't fool many of the tribal people who get to know her/him well.
Father Damien takes his role as priest at the reservation seriously. As he gets to know individuals in the tribe he makes many friends. Nevertheless, his mistakes haunt his dreams. He writes to the Pope letter after letter seeking advice and/or forgiveness. No answers arrive. Still he continues, year after year.
There are many humorous episodes in this book. My favorite is the one with the moose who drags the aging Nanapush in a boat around the reservation makes for much laughter. Erdrich's descriptions of that incident had me picturing the entire episode. And, when Nanapush comes to life not once but twice at his wake is hilarious.
The aging Father Damien has a visitor to ascertain whether an Indian woman is due for sainthood. As he visits with Farther Jude, Modeste finds himself reliving parts of his life. Especially poignant for him was the time spent with Father Gregory Wekkle to whom she is attracted physically. They fall in love and spend their evenings making love while during the days they go about their priestly duties. For me, the humanness of Agnes/Father Damien is so realistic.
Another important aspect of this read is the insight the author gives the reader into the Ojibwe culture, beliefs, mindset and humor. Father Damien's encounters with the talking black dog are an example. What an outstanding read!