By Peter Beidler, Gay Barton
This article goals to pilot the reader during the maze of Louise Erdrich's interlocking worlds. half 1 presents a skeletal define of every relations integrated within the novels; and half 2, a dictionary of characters, types the guts of the publication.
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Additional info for A Reader's Guide to the Novels of Louise Erdrich
To these familiar faces Erdrich adds some memorable new characters, particularly Shawnee Ray Toose and her small son, Redford. The dominant plot of The Bingo Palace is Lipsha’s Quixotic love for Shawnee Ray, a love complicated by the rivalry of Lipsha’s kinsman and employer, Lyman, and by Shawnee Ray’s own uncertainty. Several important subplots enrich the novel, such as Xavier Toose’s unrequited burning love for Zelda and Lipsha’s continued resentment of his dead mother, June Morrissey. The latter subplot culminates in a sometimes comic winter chase in which Gerry and Lipsha follow June’s ghostly lead across the snow-engulfed plains—an incident that recalls June’s death in the opening sequence of Love Medicine.
For references to Tales of Burning Love in the entries, we provide our own chapter numbers in brackets following the chapter titles. We have generally listed the activities of the various characters chronologically within each entry rather than in the order in which those incidents appear in the novels. When the characters appear as ghosts, we discuss their spirit-presences, logically enough, after they have died. Because little in Erdrich’s fiction does not break out of its own mold, when in doubt we have followed where her shifting currents seemed to lead us.
It seemed best, for example, to list Lulu Nanapush Morrissey Lamartine under the name Lulu rather than under one of her surnames. 47 48 A Reader’s Guide to the Novels of Louise Erdrich She is not, after all, a Nanapush by blood, and her marriages to Morrissey and the two Lamartine brothers are brief. In addition, Erdrich almost always uses only Lulu’s first name. Characters for whom Erdrich has not given first names we have identified by last names. When there is more than one character with the same name we use Roman numerals, such as Morrissey I and Morrissey II.
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