A powerfully involving novel from one of America’s finest writers, and winner of America’s prestigious National Book Award for Fiction 2012
Sister Cecilia lives for music, for those hours when she can play her beloved Chopin on the piano. It isn't that she neglects her other duties, rather it is the playing itself – distilled of longing – that disturbs her sisters. The very air of the convent thickens with the passion of her music, and the young girl is asked to leave. And so it is that Sister Cecilia appears before Berndt Vogel on his farm, destitute, looking for sanctuary.
Decades later, old Father Damien lays down his pen and dresses for bed. Slowly, he removes his heavy robes, undergarments and, at last, a bandage wound tightly around woman's breasts. Having lived for so long as a man, he fears that the discovery of his true identity will undo all that he has accomplished…
Moving and lyrical, ‘The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse’ is a powerful work from one of contemporary literature's brightest stars.
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Dense and labyrinthine in style, Louise Erdrichís The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse is a wonderfully moving meditation on faith, love and tolerance. Returning to the Ojibwe Native American reservation, which the author previously visited in works such as Love Medicine, Erdrich creates an unforgettable character in the shape of Catholic priest Father Damien Modeste who, we learn at the novelís outset, is actually a woman masquerading as a man. Skilfully intertwining past and present in a story spanning most of the 20th century, Erdrich unveils the circumstances that led Agnes DeWitt, a gifted pianist and former nun, to assume the identity of a dead priest. Most of the novelís finely honed threads are fused by Agnes/Father Damienís recollections to a younger priest who has been sent to the reservation to research the possible beautification of one of the nuns. Now a very old man, Father Damien recalls the struggles to learn about and win the trust of the indigenous people of the community, while closely guarding his/her true identity.
Love, both religious and carnal, is explored in lavishly written passages that are both lyrically beautiful and uproariously funny. Agnesís snake-tempting renditions of Chopin, Sister Leopoldaís reports of stigmata, Nanapushís death and temporary resurrection and Satanís manifestation as a black dog are just some of the "miracles" that Father Damien recounts. Like Father Damienís own identity, these tales are part miracle, part fable, part truth, part fiction and knit together seamlessly with the more "realistic" passages on poverty and family feuding. While Father Damienís scruples at converting people with their own indigenous faith to Catholicism are never really resolved, there is no doubt that the priestís world is profoundly altered by the rites and rituals of the Ojibwe society. Their cultural touchstones of earthy sensuality and profound spirituality combine with Father Damienís own religious traditions to create a life-affirming tale that offers a timely reminder that there are many different ways to express love and devotion and that purveyors of faith come in many different guises. --Jane MorrisReview:
‘An extravagant and colourful story of family feuds, illicit love and murder … a lavish celebration of the natural world and the mysteries that lie within it’ Sunday Telegraph
‘So moving, so precisely observed … Erdrich uses her remarkable storytelling gifts to endow it with both emotional immediacy and the timeless power of fable’ New York Times
‘Spellbinding, supernaturally infused … profoundly moving surpassing pleasures spring from its wild, dark vision’ Elle
‘Enchanting and absorbing’ Time
‘This triumphant, fiercely lyrical novel places Erdrich solidly in the first rank of American novelists … Stunning’ Publishers Weekly
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Book Description Flamingo, 2002. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 000713634X