Thursday, July 24, 2008


The Book: Louise Erdrich, THE LAST REPORT ON THE MIRACLES AT LITTLE NO HORSE. Harper Perennial trade paperback reprint, 2002; signed by author. Very good condition, pages show mild signs of age.
First read: 2002
Owned since: 2002

What is the whole of our existence but the sound of an appalling love?

This book was an exceptionally thoughtful gift from my old friend Art Coulson, who bought it at a signing in Minnesota. I love Louise Erdrich's books, and although this is not my #1 favorite (that would be TALES OF BURNING LOVE), it's a close second.

Father Damian Modeste, more than 100 years old, sits down to write one last letter to the Pope, who has never answered him. Father Damian is a keeper of secrets, not least his own: he is a biological woman who has been living as a man for more than 50 years.

As pastor on the reservation of Little No Horse, Father Damian has seen more than his share of tragedy and wonder, love and hate, hope and despair. All of these are distilled into the case of Sister Leopolda, once known (in several of Erdrich's earlier books) as Pauline Puyat. Pauline Puyat was a troublemaker in the secular world, and no different in the spiritual ones; the miracles attributed to her may be signs of extraordinary grace, but may be something different altogether.

Native American ideas of good and evil differ from those of the Roman Catholic Church, but God's love is absolute and infinite in both. THE LAST REPORT ON THE MIRACLES AT LITTLE NO HORSE explores the nature of miracles, and marvels at how grace turns up in the unlikeliest places in this imperfect world.

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