Tracks (1980)

by Louise Erdrich

Tracks, Louise Erdrich’s third novel about the Obijwe Indians of North Dakota, goes back in time before Love Medicine and The Beet Queen, setting families from those books in the years 1912 to 1924. Native Americans are making a final attempt to hold on to their land against white encroachment, and it looks like they have a choice between surrender or starvation.

The story is told by alternate narrators, Nanapush, a tribal elder and wise man, and Pauline, a half-blood whose embrace of Christianity becomes an obsessive quest for sainthood. Fleur, a mystic believed to be a witch who frightens both men and women, figures prominently in both their narratives. Erdrich makes use of magical realism to mirror the conflicts within Native society about protecting the old ways. Tracks is a poignant tale of families torn between attempting to preserve the past and the regrettable need to accommodate the new reality, 


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