The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse
author : louise erdrich
pages : [paperback] 384
memorable quote : To love another another human in all of her splendor and imperfect perfection , it is a magnificent task…tremendous and foolish and human.
favorite character : nanapush
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 colleague 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?
I had to read Louise Erdrich’s novel for one of my college courses and I’m very glad that it was assigned. I typically don’t end up enjoying the novels that I need to read for school; usually I don’t have the book to fault for this but time constraints in which I need to hurry through the novel or bad professors could make me dislike the book. Luckily I have a great professor for this course and Erdrich’s powerful novel withstands even the hastiest reading. Actually, the material is so well-written and dense that it’s impossible to skim through this book without missing all of the important (and interesting!) aspects of the novel.
I haven’t read many books set on Native American reservations; luckily we had a class presentation that provided us with more information on the Ojibwe but I think that anyone reading the novel could find out a bit more with a quick google search. Just looking up the background of these people, understanding what the characters have come from and what they’re striving toward, will hope you connect more fully with the novel if you find the prose to be too intense for your liking.
I couldn’t imagine this tale told in any other way. Through Father Damien’s story, narrated to a fellow priest, the reader explores gender roles, lost cultures, religious complications, and the significance of truth. It’s fascinating to see how the characters develop their attitudes throughout the novel. Father Damien is over one hundred years old and we’re able to see him from around the 1920s to the 1990s. That leaves a lot of room for change and a lot of lessons to be taught through his experiences.
Anyone looking to explore concepts of gender, race, and religion can look at this book; anyone simply searching for a thought-provoking narrative should pick this up. I’d certainly save it for when you have enough time to significantly ponder the text and fully consider every aspect of the novel. Not everything can be taken at its surface appearance.
I really enjoyed reading this book and it’s something that I might read again. I’d definitely recommend this!