Major Authors: Louise Erdrich
Louise Erdrich (b. 1954) is probably one of the best-known and best-selling American literary novelists of the last several decades. Many of her novels are set in an imaginary landscape between Minneapolis and North Dakota, and deal with the effects of family histories on the characters' lives. Her novels are also interconnected, so she tells stories over multiple generations and long periods of time. She is of German and Ojibwe descent and has explored both sides of her heritage in her novels, poetry, and nonfiction. This course will give a big-picture overview of Erdrich’s career, although with some emphasis on the more recent of her fifteen novels, including The Plague of Doves (2008; a murder mystery); The Round House (2016; a crime thriller); and The Future Home of the Living God (2017; speculative fiction). We’ll look at her work from the perspective of both contemporary literary fiction and Ojibwe writing in English and talk about the concerns that motivate her, the other writers she's related to, and the influence her writing has had over the course of her career.
Want to know more about Louise Erdrich? Take a look at the blog she keeps at her bookstore in Minneapolis, Birchbark Books, an interview in The Paris Review (part of it anyway), or her page at the Poetry Foundation. Here are some of her latest publications in The New Yorker.