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The Master Butchers Singing Club
The Master Butchers Singing Club
Author: Louise Erdrich
Having survived World War I, Fidelis Waldvogel returns to his quiet German village and marries the pregnant widow of his best friend, killed in action. With a suitcase full of sausages and a master butcher's precious knife set, Fidelis sets out for America. — In Argus, North Dakota, he builds a business, a home for his family -- which include...  more »
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ISBN-13: 9780060935337
ISBN-10: 0060935332
Publication Date: 2/3/2004
Pages: 416
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.

4 stars, based on 114 ratings
Publisher: Perennial
Book Type: Paperback
Other Versions: Hardcover, Audio Cassette, Audio CD
Reviews: Member | Amazon | Write a Review

Top Member Book Reviews

reviewed The Master Butchers Singing Club on + 30 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 9
I didn't plan to read this book, but read the reviews and decided to give it a try before someone requested it from my inventory. What a wonderful surprise. I won't be letting this one go. Rich language, beautifully crafted, what a storyteller Erdrich is. I'll be ordering another copy to share with family.
sweetiepetey avatar reviewed The Master Butchers Singing Club on
Helpful Score: 8
This book was so haunting. I am so torn over this book. The writing is so beautiful and yet there are truly disturbing elements in this story. When I first read the book I felt angry because hope was continually stripped away from the characters lives. But this story has endured in my mind more clearly than any other book. My reaction was so strong and long lasting that I came to realize that this story really touched me, and will always be with me.
reviewed The Master Butchers Singing Club on + 22 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 6
Erlich's "The Master Butchers Singing Club" is a beautifully written book full of characters that lift off the pages as real and vivid. There are twists and turns in the underlying mysteries. I stayed up late several nights reading this one. History, romance, adventure, and family saga all rolled up into one. The story quickly moves from Germany to North Dakota and has two central characters--Fidelis from Germany and Delphine from the states. He comes to make his fortune and raise a family. She is a loving, industrious person trying to rise above an alcoholic father and mysterious past.
reviewed The Master Butchers Singing Club on + 6 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
I am a huge fan of Erdrich, this novel is true to her style. Very engaging, I couldn't wait to return to it each night.
fullybooked avatar reviewed The Master Butchers Singing Club on + 61 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
Boring title and cover art for a great read! The characters pop off the page.
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reviewed The Master Butchers Singing Club on + 4 more book reviews
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I didn't want it to end. She's one of my favorite authors and this is one of her best books.
reviewed The Master Butchers Singing Club on
What a cast of characters! What surprises! This book was masterfully written and I kept thinking about it for days after reading it. I didn't know whether to laugh out loud or cry! My book discussion group plans to discuss it in November.
reviewed The Master Butchers Singing Club on + 9 more book reviews
Well written but very slow paced. I was bored, I finished it but just barely. Overall, a disappointment.
Readnmachine avatar reviewed The Master Butchers Singing Club on + 1439 more book reviews
The lives of residents of a small North Dakota town are intertwined in the years between the First and Second World Wars. Beautifully written, with a lovely twist at the end.
LeahG avatar reviewed The Master Butchers Singing Club on + 320 more book reviews
My impression of this book is WOW. It's loaded with intriging characters who are fascinating and real. The author's ability to evoke emotion and care for her characters is unparalleled. I couldn't put it down.
reviewed The Master Butchers Singing Club on
This is a excellent read, with a thorough development of the characters in the story. I can't help wondering whether some of these people are or were real. It's a book I'd highly recommend.
perryfran avatar reviewed The Master Butchers Singing Club on + 1176 more book reviews
A few months ago I read Erdrich's Pulitzer Prize winning novel, THE NIGHT WATCHMAN, which I thought was very well-deserved. Based on that novel, I wanted to read more by Erdrich and happened to have a copy of Master Butchers on my TBR shelf. I really enjoyed this saga which reminded me of other novels of a family's love and sorrow such as EAST OF EDEN by John Steinbeck.

The novel takes place mostly in the town of Argus, North Dakota where Fidelis Waldvogel, a WWI veteran, decides to settle after traveling from Germany. Fidelis is a butcher and he is able to prosper in America. He is later joined there by his wife Eva, her son, Franz, who was fathered by Fidelis's friend who perished in the War, and his sister. The story is really a saga of family and friends and takes place from WWI to WWII and beyond. Fidelis is gifted with a beautiful singing voice and he starts a singing club in the small town. The novel includes stories of several others including Delphine Watzka, the daughter of the town drunk who is in constant mourning for his late Indian wife Minnie. When Delphine returns to Argus, she is accompanied by Cyprian who she had performed with in a balancing act on the road. Cyprian is a half-breed and is also homosexual or bisexual. So does Delphine love him? She's not sure but she does live with him for years. Then Delphine meets Eva who she befriends and ends up helping to raise her sons. The novel goes on into the years prior to WWII and includes some very devastating changes for all of them.

The novel really included some finely drawn characters and was structured very episodically with many anecdotal tales revolving around the main story. These include the four sons of Fidelis who seen to get into mischief and trouble at every turn. But Delphine is perhaps the real focal point of the story and is portrayed as a damaged person with an unknown past. There are also some great secondary characters such as a rag-picker named Step-and-a-Half who seems to know most everything that goes on in the town. And then there is the really stunning surprise ending to the novel that I thought was almost perfect. I'll definitely be reading more of Erdrich!
reviewed The Master Butchers Singing Club on + 80 more book reviews
I gave this book a high rating because it captured my interest and held it for the duration. It gives us an insight into a family which arrives upon the streets of NY from Germany and travels to N Dakota to set up a Butcher's shop in a small town with the father, an exGerman soldier, starting a singing club. The family's association with people from the area form unbreakable bonds as the family works diligently to find success during the period between WWI and WWII. The reader will appreciate accurate history, and basic human emotions tugging at the minds of the characters which mesh into a very good story. I enjoyed it and at times found I could not put it down.
UALabGeek avatar reviewed The Master Butchers Singing Club on + 46 more book reviews
This was fantastic, and I'm not usually much of a Louise Erdrich fan. Maybe because this was based on a member of her own family, but her characters are vibrant and alive, and the story made my brain fizz with delight. I've recommended this book to everyone I know who has even the slightest interest in books. It's that good.

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