Late summer in North Dakota, 1999: Landreaux Iron stalks a deer along the edge of the property bordering his own. He shoots with easy confidence but only when he staggers closer does he realise he has killed his neighbour’s son.
Dusty Ravich, the deceased boy, was best friends with Landreaux’s five-year-old son, LaRose. The two families have been close for years and their children played together despite going to different schools. Landreaux is horrified at what he’s done; fighting off his longstanding alcoholism, he ensconces himself in a sweat lodge and prays for guidance. And there he discovers an old way of delivering justice for the wrong he’s done. The next day he and his wife Emmaline deliver LaRose to the bereaved Ravich parents. Standing on the threshold of the Ravich home, they say, ‘Our son will be your son now’.
LaRose is quickly absorbed into his new family. Gradually he’s allowed visits with his birth family, whose grief for the son and brother they gave away mirrors that of the Raviches. The years pass and LaRose becomes the linchpin that links both families. As the Irons and the Raviches grow ever more entwined, their pain begins to subside. But when a man who nurses a grudge against Landreaux fixates on the idea that there was a cover-up the day Landreaux killed Dusty – and decides to expose this secret – he threatens the fragile peace between the two families…
Louise Erdrich is the most interesting American novelist to have appeared in years - Philip Roth Electric, nimble, and perceptive, this novel is about 'the phosphorous of grief' but also, more essentially, about the emotions men need, but rarely get, from one another. - Kirkus Reviews [starred review] Powerful and affecting, LaRose is the story of two heartbroken families and the fragile bond between them in the wake of a major loss. - Buzzfeed, Incredible New Books You Need To Read This Spring Edrich's prose style is hugely engaging, a lovely, tender unfurling of day-to-day concerns and emotions alongside the mystical world of seat lodges, visions and visits from long lost elders - Sunday Express A magnificent, sorrowful tale of justice, retribution, and love - Vanity Fair A chronicler of the continuing destruction of Native American communities, she writes beautifully about what Indian children used to learn from their parents - Herald Grief and guilt and unquenchable yearning overwhelm the pages ... Erdrich has considerable powers as a writer of tragedy and comedy ... it's wonderful - Literary Review Erdrich is a poet of lists, placing like and unlike together as if they were a series of Christmas lights, each individually illuminating, each gaining luster and brilliance from its placement, the whole blazing, incandescent . . . Perhaps the most important of Erdrich's achievements is her mastery of complex forms . . . Woven into the specificity of these narratives is Erdrich's determination to speak of the most pressing human questions. - New York Times
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