*** LaRose by Louise Erdrich

LaRose is a young boy whose father accidentally kills his best friend, and obeying Ojibwa tradition is “given” by his parents to his friend’s grieving parents. La Rose is also the name of his grandmother, and of many other ancestors in the matriarchy.  The story alternates between prosaic, everyday scenes in which LaRose and his sisters go to school, fight bullies, and play volleyball and dreamy retellings of the elder LaRose’s often horrific stories, all that mixed in with the sufferings of the two mothers. There are some wonderfully nuanced characters, in particular LaRose’s parents and the Catholic priest and ex-Marine who tries to keep the community together, and they are the ones who give the story its character rather than the plot itself.

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