Seeking revenge on the lumber baron who has stripped her reservation, Fleur Pillager takes her mother’s name, Four Souls, for strength and walks from her Ojibwe reservation to the cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul. But revenge is never simple, and she quickly finds her intentions complicated by her own dangerous compassion for the man who wronged her. The two narrators of ‘Four Souls’ are from utterly different worlds. Nanapush, a ‘smart man and a fool’, is both Fleur’s saviour and her conscience. Elderly, he would like to face death with his love Margaret beside him. Instead, the two find themselves battling out their last years. When Nanapush’s childhood nemesis appears and casts his eye toward Margaret, Nanapush acts out an absurd revenge of his own. The other narrator, Polly Elizabeth Gheen, is a hanger-on in a wealthy Minneapolis family, a woman aware of her precarious hold on those around her. To her own great surprise the entrance of Fleur Pillager into her household and her life effects a transformation she could never have predicted.
Reviews of Four Souls
‘She is a writer of stunning prose. At a certain point in reading ‘Four Souls’ I realized it was useless to keep underlining the passages I wanted to quote – every page was marked. ‘Four Souls’ is not only a beautiful and absorbing novel but an extremely timely one.’ Boston Globe
‘Full of satisfying yet unexpected twists. The book begins with clean, spare prose, but finishes in gorgeous incantation and poetry.’ New York Times
‘Ms Erdrich is such a gifted writer.’ New York Times Book Review
‘A triumph of voice enriched by American Indian lore … Erdrich stands alone.’ San Francisco Chronicle