Title: The Plague of Doves
Author: Louise Erdrich
Length: 11.25 hours
Source: public library
Challenges/Resolutions: Travel the Globe Resolution
Reason for Reading: My Travel the Globe Resolution called for a sovereign Native American nation. This also happens to fulfill a slot of my Regional USA sub-sub-resolution, even if that resolution will be unfulfilled at the end of the year 😦
Summary (from Goodreads):
The unsolved murder of a farm family still haunts the white small town of Pluto, North Dakota, generations after the vengeance exacted and the distortions of fact transformed the lives of Ojibwe living on the nearby reservation.
Part Ojibwe, part white, Evelina Harp is an ambitious young girl prone to falling hopelessly in love. Mooshum, Evelina’s grandfather, is a repository of family and tribal history with an all-too-intimate knowledge of the violent past. And Judge Antone Bazil Coutts, who bears witness, understands the weight of historical injustice better than anyone. Through the distinct and winning voices of three unforgettable narrators, the collective stories of two interwoven communities ultimately come together to reveal a final wrenching truth.
My Thoughts: The reason I didn’t really write my own summary of this book like I have in the past for this resolution is because it was hard for me to follow, so I don’t think it’s easy to summarize. The book isn’t really one story, but rather multiple accounts from various people in a small, North Dakota town, which all end up relating and drawing one major conclusion to the various events described.
“Pluto”, North Dakota is a fictional town, near which reservation land lies that is owned by various Native American families–a mix of Ojibwe and Chippewa, from what I understand. The characters talked of living on allotment land and being “BIA (Bureau of Indian Affairs) Indians”. These things were not talked of in a bad way by the characters, but more in an “accepted for what it is” way. The stories take place at random times in history, the late 1920s, the 1960s-1970s, and more in the “present”, so the feelings of animosity towards whites (or, everyone but the Native Americans) and/or the government are of differing levels.
One of the most interesting stories within this book was the story that centered on a character named Billy Peace. Caught up in some hair-brained scheme of a friend’s (to get money from said friend’s wife to support said friend’s pregnant mistress), Billy ended up on the run and founded his own religion. Called “the Kindred”, the group was not described so far as to be a horrible cult. Cult was never used to define the group, but aspects of the religious group’s structure scream cult. I was so interested to look into that sort of world, even if fictional. And I always wonder how someone can be so persuasive as to create cults of any kind when I come across this type of story–I realize that weak-mindedness on a cult-recruit’s part is also part of the issue.