09 October 2006

The Master Butchers Singing Club

The little cabin on Little Blake Lake is a place for reading. I read another book there over the last three visits. The vistas, the critters, and the solitude all beckon me back to Sidetrack, but the reading opportunities, away from the distractions of everyday living, are equally attractive.

On Sunday, I finished The Master Butchers Singing Club by Louise Erdrich. The book is a couple years old, but I just got around to reading it. I mostly enjoyed the experience.

The characters within the novel are wonderfully drawn and most of the stories are well-told. Delphine and Eva strong, determined women in search of themeselves, Fidelis and Cyprian, men escaping from their World War I experiences and themselves, and even Fidelis' sons, immigrants' children, are all exciting people. Episodes in the book are intriguing tales.

But this book is bigger than the collection of stories it consists of. It is rather like this book is the core of a whole series of novels, which are as yet incomplete. There is the one about Delphine and Roy (her presumptive father) and Delphine's search for her mother. There is another novel about the connections between Delphine, Fedelis, Eva (Fidelis' first wife), and the four sons of Fedelis and Eva. There is another novel inside this one about those children growing up in North Dakota and being divided by a mother's death into groups of brothers who fought on opposite sides of World War II. There's another novel about Cyprian Lazarre, another man in search of himself. These all could be novels, but they're not. Maybe they will be. Maybe other stories in this book will be novels. I'd like to see them. I don't know that I'd like them, but they'd be worth reading. In other words, I'd expect them to be a lot like Erdrich's other books.

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