The Master Butchers Singing Club by Louise Erdrich

10Mar07

Louise Erdrich is an amazing writer. She somehow manages to tell the reader everything about a family, and yet leave the characters themselves sort of ephemeral. This book is an example of that. It’s beautiful.

The Master Butchers Singing Club is about a man, Fidelis Waldvogel, who comes to the United States from Germany. He is, as the title suggests, a master butcher, and he ends up settling in North Dakota (in Argus, the setting for many Erdrich novels). After World War One, he married his best friend’s wife (it was his dying wish), and Eva gets sent to the U.S. after Fidelis manages to make some money to send to her.

Fidelis and Eva are heartbreakingly sweet. So cute. However, Eva gets sick, and a local woman, Delphine, befriends her and takes care of her.

I really don’t want to ruin the story. It’s so complex, intriguing, and strange. Erdrich is very talented at taking a relatively ordinary family story and turning it into a web of lies, truths, mistaken parentage, and murder. Just read this book. It’s amaaaaazing.

****1/2

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