The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse



This Is The Story Of Father Damien Modeste, Priest To His Beloved People, The Ojibwe Modeste, Nearing The End Of His Life, Dreads The Discovery Of His Physical Identity For He Is A Woman Who Has Lived As A Man.For Than A Half Century, Father Damien Modeste Has Served His Beloved People, The Ojibwe, On The Remote Reservation Of Little No Horse 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 EvilThe Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse

Karen Louise Erdrich is a American author of novels, poetry, and children s books Her father is German American and mother is half Ojibwe and half French American She is an enrolled member of the Anishinaabe nation also known as Chippewa She is widely acclaimed as one of the most significant Native writers of the second wave of what critic Kenneth Lincoln has called the Native American Renaissance.Forinformation, please see a book description Author Biography Louise Erdrich is one of the most gifted, prolific, and challenging of contemporary Native American novelists Born in 1954 in Little Falls, Minnesota, she grew up mostly in Wahpeton, North Dakota, where her parents taught at Bureau of Indian Affairs schools Her fiction reflects aspects of her mixed heritage German through her father, and French and Ojibwa through her mother She worked at various jobs, such as hoeing sugar beets, farm work, waitressing, short order cooking, lifeguarding, and construction work, before becoming a writer She attended the Johns Hopkins creative writing program and received fellowships at the McDowell Colony and the Yaddo Colony After she was named writer in residence at Dartmouth, she married professor Michael Dorris and raised several children, some of them adopted She and Michael became a picture book husband and wife writing team, though they wrote only one truly collaborative novel, The Crown of Columbus 1991. The Antelope Wife was published in 1998, not long after her separation from Michael and his subsequent suicide Some reviewers believed they saw in The Antelope Wife the anguish Erdrich must have felt as her marriage crumbled, but she has stated that she is unconscious of having mirrored any real life events.She is the author of four previous bestselling andaward winning novels, including Love Medicine The Beet Queen Tracks and The Bingo Palace She also has written two collections of poetry, Jacklight, and Baptism of Desire. Her fiction has been honored by the National Book Critics Circle 1984 and The Los Angeles Times 1985 , and has been translated into fourteen languages Several of her short stories have been selected for O Henry awards and for inclusion in the annual Best American Short Story anthologies The Blue Jay s Dance, a memoir of motherhood, was her first nonfiction work, and her children s book, Grandmother s Pigeon, has been published by Hyperion Press She lives in Minnesota with her children, who help her run a small independent bookstore called The Birchbark.

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  • Hardcover
  • 637 pages
  • The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse
  • Louise Erdrich
  • English
  • 10 May 2019
  • 0786235209

10 thoughts on “The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse

  1. says:

    While much has been made about configurations of gender in the novels of Louise Erdrich, Last Report of Miracles from Little No Horse LRMLNH transcends earlier accomplishments from The Beet Queen and The Antelope Wife The unifying aspect of sex becomes the force early in this story that turns the plot back to Tracks, bringing an astonishing depth to a story we thought we already knew.For those not familiar with the novels of Erdrich, many of the characters in LRMLNH were introduced in earlier While much has been made about configurations of gender in the novels of Louise Erdrich, Last Report of Miracles from Little No Horse LRMLNH transcends earlier accomplishments from The Beet Queen and The Antelope Wife The unifying aspect of sex becomes the force early in this story that turns the plot back to Tracks, bringing an astonishing depth to a story we thought we already knew.For those not familiar with the novels of Erdrich, many of the characters in LRMLNH were introduced in earlier books In this story, a priest on a remote reservation in Minnesota writes a missive to The Pope, telling the pontiff he s got the wrong person in mind for sainthood Sister Leopolda, a woman whose either or but not both attitude is potently destructive Instead, the priest tells The Pope about the witness he received from the tribe of Mary Kashpaw, Lulu, Fleur Pillager and my favorite Grandpa Nanapush In a sense, this novel is a satire of religious conversion memoirs from earlier centuries.Although there are many ways to connect this novel to others in Erdrich s round of stories, I m interested in her use of music, something that significantly helped the characters of Tracks survive the harsh winter of 1917 1918 Music seems related to the concept of flow, be it blood, water, wine or the transfiguration of one to another.In other novels, Erdrich has used water as a volatile symbol, so LRMLNH astonishes with its variation on the motif The water of the natural world in Love Medicine is still imbued with significance in LRMLNH, but Erdich links characters to nature by the flow of that water Sister Cecilia leaves the convent when Mother Superior hides all music except Bach because the midnight playing of Chopin s Prelude in E Minor wakes Mother Superior in sweat tears with memories of her own dead mother 15 In one deft scene, Erdrich dramatizes the spiritual link between family, spirit and the flow of water This early leave taking becomesamazing when considered with the novel s conclusion.The connection between music and family is subtle but startling once we realize that some music is sex For example, Berndt Vogel a farmer whom Sr Cecilia goes to work for uses the piano to keep her around Cecilia, in turn, uses music to seduce him a bit like the movie The Piano While Sr Cecilia practices piano, Berndt practices for loving her The musical sex described on page 21 isastounding than the traditional sex described on page 24 For an author as accomplished at writing eroticism Tales of Burning Love is particularly memorable in exploring the diversity of physical love , Erdrich continues to astonish in LRMLNH.The musical sex Berndt and Agnes share is a kind of birth control, unless we consider music the offspring This book is about the spirit transcending the physical It is interesting that Fr Damien looks at the piano as sleeping child 6 7 Few writers have written as much non fiction on parenting as Erdrich The Blue Jay s Dance, Books Islands in Ojibwe Country and whatever contributions she made to Michael Dorris Broken Cord So it is with interest that I look at the spiritual rebirths in LRMLNH, in particular, Fr Damien s realization that being reborn once might not be enough And the novel is not talking about reincarnation, but opening a new dimension of one person, and music seems to be present throughout the conversions.When Fr Damien plays the piano in the new church, snakes come from the ground, giving him good standing with the Anishinaabeg 220 The snakes or ginebigoog come from the lower levels to hear the priest play piano, thus bringing the people to church because the snakes are known to be wise All these things occur in Chapter 12, The Audience, one of the most philosophical passages in all Erdrich for it is here music elucidates the distinctions between European and American approaches to language, time and love As for me, this chapter is sacred literature So to quote from it I risk the heresy of paraphrase don t we always , but the poetry found within Erdrich s prose is worth itDivine love may be so large it cannot see us. Or it may be so infinitely tiny that it works at a level where it directs us like an unknown substance buried in our blood. Or it may be transparent, an invisible screen, a filter through which we see and hear all that is createdOh my friends The snakes lifted their bullet smooth heads, flicked their tongues to catch the vibrations of the sounds the being made somewhere before them. I am like you, said Father Damien to the snakes, curious and small Like you, I poise alertly and open my senses to try to read the air, the clouds, the sun s slant, the little movements of the animals, all in the hope I will learn the secret of whether I am loved 227 The novel earns this philosophical indulgence with physical hardship of surviving the Era of Benign Neglect It is the spiritual transcendence mistaken as a loss of faith that makes this novel so rich If survival is to bethan a physical act, survivors need to evolve spiritually, which here seems to be not a loss of faith but a loss of misunderstanding

  2. says:

    If you yoked Faulkner with Garcia Marquez, and anointed them with the comic hijinx of John Irving, you would experience a sense of Louise Erdrich s poetic, visually imaginative power She interweaves a traditional pagan mysticism with Catholic catechism, the animate with the anthropomorphic The central figure, Father Damien Modeste, is a Catholic missionary priest who, since coming to the Little No Horse reservation in 1912, has fluidly blended the customs of the Ojibwe people with the Holy Tri If you yoked Faulkner with Garcia Marquez, and anointed them with the comic hijinx of John Irving, you would experience a sense of Louise Erdrich s poetic, visually imaginative power She interweaves a traditional pagan mysticism with Catholic catechism, the animate with the anthropomorphic The central figure, Father Damien Modeste, is a Catholic missionary priest who, since coming to the Little No Horse reservation in 1912, has fluidly blended the customs of the Ojibwe people with the Holy Trinity Through his eighty years there on the reservation he is at least 100 years old now , he has integrated the spiritual faiths into a potent hybrid, a mystic fusion that also informs the book s imagery, without a shred of proselytizing Father Damien takes great pleasure in forgiveness, in absolving all of people s sins at confession.Many of Erdrich s characters develop over time in her Argus novels, with intricate histories and relationships Father Damien was a peripheral character in past books, such as Love Medicine,The Beet Queen and Tracks Erdrich s use of the multi narrative voice and nonlinear storyline brings specific characters in and out of focus at different times and in different books In LAST REPORT, I could sense the full lives of characters such as Nanapush, Damien s closest friend, who came with a full history by the time he was introduced in this book It is difficult to review this novel without mentioning some surprises about Father Damien s identity, which is shared in the first several pages However, I leave that to the reader to discover, and will give very little plot point information.Father Damien is now at the end of his life He has been writing letters to the Vatican asking for spiritual guidance for half a century, awaiting a reply, persevering in this quest When Father Jude shows up, it is not for the reasons Damien is hoping for Rather, Father Jude has come to interview the cleric and others because the Vatican is considering Little No Horse s deceased Sister Leopolda the Puyat for sainthood The Sister is inexplicably bound up with some reported miracles on the reservation However, she was also a treacherous woman responsible for the tragic fate of several people During the investigation of Sister Leopolda, Father Damien s extraordinary life unfolds.Erdrich s prose is so dense and dynamic that you can extract any line and see multiple images expanding Her sentences are not merely strung together to get to the next one Like beautiful poetry, the journey of a single phrase can make you pause and shudder Her sense of character is not limited to the sentient and her depiction of place contains a blend of what is now and what is ancient I am still revisiting passages just for its supple beauty Erdrich is an alpha female writer the robust writing story doesn t depend on sentiment or emotional manipulation, but rather on singularity and strength Flinty, brutal, feral, mystical, and inflammatory, this book is a postmodern world of the supernatural and earthly, intoxicated with great passion and love, deep sorrow and regret And occasionally, it is hilarious.I observed immediately that Erdrich s narrative keeps the reader at a certain distance, but it s the same way that the moon is at a distance when we gaze upon it Too close and we would lose perspective Within the chapters are subheadings that could rightly be their own vignettes and character studies The structure reflects Erdrich s fealty to oral storytelling the Native American tradition of language and the land, of birth and death, of revenant spirits, and the eternal cycles of nature Father Damien s letters to the Vatican and his interview with Father Jude weaves the disparate narratives together, and shows the reader his candor beyond the cloak of secrecy.I can see a higher power inhabiting the nun s fingers that channel Chopin in the heart that beats in its cage brittle old bones buried in the earth the broken bits of sun flashing through the trembling leaves a cold fat moon of an early frost the long shadow of a life

  3. says:

    I just loved this book Such a wonderful portrayal of Father Damien actually a woman who finds her life as a priest through very strange circumstances and the Ojibwa Indians on a Dakota reservation The prose was beautiful and while the story went back and forth from past to present, Erdrich does such a fantastic job acquainting the reader with all the main characters and their stories this was not confusing to me I felt like I was intimately acquainted with all of them, and loved reading abo I just loved this book Such a wonderful portrayal of Father Damien actually a woman who finds her life as a priest through very strange circumstances and the Ojibwa Indians on a Dakota reservation The prose was beautiful and while the story went back and forth from past to present, Erdrich does such a fantastic job acquainting the reader with all the main characters and their stories this was not confusing to me I felt like I was intimately acquainted with all of them, and loved reading about their lives Some parts made me laugh and some parts made me sad, I had such compassion for most of these characters Didn t want the book to end

  4. says:

    I have to admit that I didn t finish this book I vowed to myself, back when I slogged my way through the insufferable Anna Karenina, that I would never again finish a book just because I had started it and I continue to live by that standard Still, I came very near the end, and my complaint about The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse could not have been repaired in the space left What it boils down to is this for me, Erdrich didn t achieve a genuine internal life for all her I have to admit that I didn t finish this book I vowed to myself, back when I slogged my way through the insufferable Anna Karenina, that I would never again finish a book just because I had started it and I continue to live by that standard Still, I came very near the end, and my complaint about The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse could not have been repaired in the space left What it boils down to is this for me, Erdrich didn t achieve a genuine internal life for all her characters I bought the perspective of Agnes Father Damien, but when Erdrich shifted perspectives to Berndt or Lulu or Nestor or Father Jude, I just didn t believe in them The reason is simple They all had the same connection to their sensations and feelings as Agnes, and that is just not feasible All of her characters engage completely with the world around them They all feel the textures and smell the smells and taste the tastes and hear the sounds and see beyond boring sight One character with that gift in a story is totally believable Two characters in a story I can understand Butthan that and I call bullshit I have known maybe three to four people in my entire life who have a true relationship and understanding of their sensations although I am sure there are countlesswho think they do , and I just can t buy an entire reservation full of folks with that ability It s a shame too Erdrich is a truly poetical prose artist I just don t believe in her characters, and that is all important to me

  5. says:

    I was reading the six books in the Erdrich Medicine Readalong but got behind, so almost two months late I picked this one up I actually thought I might just let it go but Louise Erdrich pulled me back in Just when you think you know all the storyconsidering that Love Medicine came out in 1984 and this came out in 2001, the characters must appear to her and demand to have their stories told This one focuses on Father Damien who is a pretty minor character otherwise, specifically mentioned i I was reading the six books in the Erdrich Medicine Readalong but got behind, so almost two months late I picked this one up I actually thought I might just let it go but Louise Erdrich pulled me back in Just when you think you know all the storyconsidering that Love Medicine came out in 1984 and this came out in 2001, the characters must appear to her and demand to have their stories told This one focuses on Father Damien who is a pretty minor character otherwise, specifically mentioned in Tracks It has through lines of other stories I know from previous books, but also different perspectives andinformation on those stories And with themes of gender, sexuality, calling, friendship this might be my favorite yet

  6. says:

    What is the whole of our existence but the sound of an appalling love p355.Both poetic and magical, The Last Report On The Miracles At Little No Horse , is a profoundly spiritual book It consists of the recollections of Father Damien Modeste in reality Agnes DeWitt, an ex nun who narrowly escaped being murdered at the beginning of the story of his ministry to the Native Americans on the Ojibwe reservations Throughout his time there he had written copious letters to the Vatican conc What is the whole of our existence but the sound of an appalling love p355.Both poetic and magical, The Last Report On The Miracles At Little No Horse , is a profoundly spiritual book It consists of the recollections of Father Damien Modeste in reality Agnes DeWitt, an ex nun who narrowly escaped being murdered at the beginning of the story of his ministry to the Native Americans on the Ojibwe reservations Throughout his time there he had written copious letters to the Vatican concerning the possible canonisation of Sister Leopolda ne Pauline Puyat and the narrative flashes between the stories they related and his final revelations to the representative who arrives, at last, in response to the them.In the process, a great many grand themes are dealt with love, faith, good, evil, the nature of ministry, the morality of attempting to evangelise convert, the concept of sainthood, the power of music and so on All of which is to reduce this wonderfully evocative novel to a prosaic list I cannot do it justice Allow Erdrich s faboulous saga to envelop you Drink deeply of its wisdom A beautiful book Read

  7. says:

    I need a chance to catch my breath maybe I need to learn how to breathe once again maybe I need to get new lungs I don t know I don t understand Last night I was reading this book and then it happened and I wasn t sure why it had to, it being the ending of the book, and it being, like all things in this book, truly wonderfully beautiful, dark, earthy, coloured with the hues of the prairie sky hovering over a cool lake as the first winds of Autumn move onto the land This novel is massive in I need a chance to catch my breath maybe I need to learn how to breathe once again maybe I need to get new lungs I don t know I don t understand Last night I was reading this book and then it happened and I wasn t sure why it had to, it being the ending of the book, and it being, like all things in this book, truly wonderfully beautiful, dark, earthy, coloured with the hues of the prairie sky hovering over a cool lake as the first winds of Autumn move onto the land This novel is massive in scale, in storytelling, in its shaping of characters It is also a massive success, a true accomplishment, a testament to the power of literature I have struggled to write about it now for days not for lack of trying I have written several reviews, written about it in my reading diary, in my writing diary, and several times in my journals as I reflect upon its lessons in unexpected moments I will fail to keep this draft as short as I hoped to.This book is an Epic about Love, with the Germanic Capitalization fully intact and intended Love is the central character of this story a love of place, of God, of a community, of trees, of rivers, of cars, of wives, of broken wives, of work, of devotion, of books, of music, of the feeling of a piano under your feet, of virginal statues, of making virginal statues, of women, of men, of the careful line between the two, of influence and dependence, of marriage, of divorce, of moose, of lives well lived, of lives cut short, of the Western world, of the First Nations This book is an Epic about Love It plays with it, of course, rolls the idea of Love around in its mouth like a caramel, sucking out all of the sweetness, turning it into a fully spent melancholy In the rotations, it plays with the idea of colonialism as it formed itself in the 20th century, with the idea of the church and the devotion of priests to their flock, with the idea of man and the idea of woman, with the great acting of gender, with how gender is understood in different worlds separated by different languages, with the idea of strength, with the idea of weakness, with the idea of spirits, with the idea of witnessing Love resurrects a man in this story It does it twice Love saves a child from death Love makes men break their vows Love brings a cancer patient to the site of their only Love, and Love makes a man care for that man out of Love Love develops out of an abduction, only to be soured, in a matter of sentences, by the mystery of heartbreak and the birth of a child Love separates a mother from her daughter after the daughter has been separated from her mother This book is an Epic about Love, and Love is a beautiful, rupturing catastrophe in the form human.There were times when reading this book required putting it down and not reading it There are stories here which seem to play with your heart without regard Tragedy after tragedy piles up, and the characters which are briefly explored become important and beautiful, well loved figures in your literary imagination just before their world in crumpled beneath them or around them But these events are punctured by joyful, beautiful moments, even by humour You will laugh at the folly of man while reading this book, and you will spend days walking in a malaise, wondering if you will ever acquire the strength to read and be vulnerable with literature again We are offered all of these sensations in the most wonderful writing, poetic and earthy and compassionate It could be no other way Erdrich treats her readers to an adventure and, as Toni Morrison famously suggested in a review of Erdrich s first novel, we can only survive the shape of the book because of her control over her language It is beautiful When you read it, you read it in a revelry, when you can t read it any, you think about the adventure thus far in revelry Have I mentioned yet this is an Epic of Love There are new images, new events in this small head of mine, they are linked to this book, and they will hopefully never leave me One of them is that incredible, respectful ending.Is it perfect No At least, not quite as a standalone fixture I would have appreciated a bitof a grounding in the history of the space and place, and maybe a bithelp making sense of the powerful women that move in and out of the story But let us be honest about this, none of Erdrich books aside from perhaps The Antelope Wife are made to be read individually, and so we shouldn t be judging them individually as we do, say, works by Tolstoy or Steinbeck or Lispector This book is better because I have read and loved Tracks Tracks is better because I have read and loved this book And now, as I move forward and plan my deeper journeys into Erdrich s tiny little universe, I am confident that each book will enhance those books which I have read before it We should breathe with each of these Little No Horse books into us as it takes each of its individual stories and weaves them with the stories we find in the other books set in this same reservation this is a history of multiplicities, of many events, and we are invited to watch as Erdrich develops this community into something vast and amazing through several books, each with its own perspective, each with its own flavour of generosity, each with its own intent, each with its own explanation of the very human, tragic, and beautiful past of this imagined community This parasitic, maybe symbiotic relationship is a marvel and honour to witness This is the full revelation of literary power.Erdrich is the real deal

  8. says:

    It has been a while since I read a book which made me genuinely laugh out loud as I read it and which brought me to tears at other times This book was one of those types of reads for me I have read a few of Erdrich s previous novels and I have enjoyed all of them In every one of her novels we are exposed to the inner thoughts and dialouge s of her multiple characters Many of her works deal with the different extremes of love and how one experiences love in its different forms From the mount It has been a while since I read a book which made me genuinely laugh out loud as I read it and which brought me to tears at other times This book was one of those types of reads for me I have read a few of Erdrich s previous novels and I have enjoyed all of them In every one of her novels we are exposed to the inner thoughts and dialouge s of her multiple characters Many of her works deal with the different extremes of love and how one experiences love in its different forms From the mountainous Mary Kashpaw and her silent and enormous love for Father Damien through Lulu and her many and frequent liasons all the way to Agnes herself and her abiding, all encompasing, life time s worth of love for her adopted people we get to witness different forms of love as we read this novel Love can redeem us and love can curse us but it is what makes us most human.This was a truely humanizing work which I would recommend to anyone who enjoys a nice slow progression of a plot with many fine details and many individual moments of laughter, sadness, ferocity, and spirit.To end with a quote from Father Damien, What is the whole of our existence but the sound of an appalling love

  9. says:

    What a beautiful ending for another complex story by Louise Erdrich This is a book that twisted my opinions around its premisestimes than once At times preposterous, and at times profound this tale binds the reader up into its characters choices Choices that we don t always agree with, but seem frequently to find ourselves complicit in And although sometimes I felt that small plot twists were a bit pat, I found that their weave into the greater tapestry of Erdrich s telling wereWhat a beautiful ending for another complex story by Louise Erdrich This is a book that twisted my opinions around its premisestimes than once At times preposterous, and at times profound this tale binds the reader up into its characters choices Choices that we don t always agree with, but seem frequently to find ourselves complicit in And although sometimes I felt that small plot twists were a bit pat, I found that their weave into the greater tapestry of Erdrich s telling wereforgivable once we understand where she has brought us Nov 2013 I ve now read this through, completely, a second time This book is a masterpiece

  10. says:

    This epic spans generations but centers around the life of the fascinating Father Damien Every aspect of his story is compelling, as are the journeys into the lives of other characters on the reservation Erdrich deftly balances depth and breadth to create a vast yet intricately detailed and rich web of personalities, relationships, and histories The tension between Catholicism and traditional Ojibwe spirituality is explored poignantly without demonizing either side Erdrich writes with a powe This epic spans generations but centers around the life of the fascinating Father Damien Every aspect of his story is compelling, as are the journeys into the lives of other characters on the reservation Erdrich deftly balances depth and breadth to create a vast yet intricately detailed and rich web of personalities, relationships, and histories The tension between Catholicism and traditional Ojibwe spirituality is explored poignantly without demonizing either side Erdrich writes with a powerful, vivid clarity and characterizes her subjects with such depth and truth that I cannot wait to read the rest of her novels I enjoyed Love Medicine a few months ago and was thrilled to see many of the same characters in this novel In the end notes, she thanks Paybomibiness Dennis Jones , who taught at the University of Minnesota while I was a student there and spoke to my American Indian philosophies class about Ojibwe spirituality He was fascinating and funny

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