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The Painted Drum
The Painted Drum: A Novel | Louise Erdrich
12 posts | 14 read | 2 reading | 8 to read
When a woman named Faye Travers is called upon to appraise the estate of a family in her small New Hampshire town, she isn't surprised to discover a forgotten cache of valuable Native American artifacts. After all, the family descends from an Indian agent who worked on the North Dakota Ojibwe reservation that is home to her mother's family. However, she stops dead in her tracks when she finds in the collection a rare drum -- a powerful yet delicate object, made from a massive moose skin stretched across a hollow of cedar, ornamented with symbols she doesn't recognize and dressed in red tassels and a beaded belt and skirt -- especially since, without touching the instrument, she hears it sound. From Faye's discovery, we trace the drum's passage both backward and forward in time, from the reservation on the northern plains to New Hampshire and back. Through the voice of Bernard Shaawano, an Ojibwe, we hear how his grandfather fashioned the drum after years of mourning his young daughter's death, and how it changes the lives of those whose paths its crosses. And through Faye we hear of her anguished relationship with a local sculptor, who himself mourns the loss of a daughter, and of the life she has made alone with her mother, in the shadow of the death of Faye's sister. Through these compelling voices, The Painted Drum explores the strange power that lost children exert on the memories of those they leave behind, and as the novel unfolds, its elegantly crafted narrative comes to embody the intricate, transformative rhythms of human grief. One finds throughout the grace and wit, the captivating prose and surprising beauty, that characterize Louise Erdrich's finest work.
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review
alisonrose
The Painted Drum: A Novel | Louise Erdrich
Mehso-so

While the writing in this book is beautiful & evocative at times, and a couple of the characters were well drawn, for some reason I just couldn‘t get into the story or care much about it. There was something about the overall writing style that just didn‘t work for me, and the shifts in time & place & people didn‘t come together well, IMO. I wish we had stayed with Faye & Elsie the whole time, TBH. Not terrible but not a notable one for me. 2/5 ⭐️

xicanti This has been my experience with Erdrich, too. It‘s like, her prose is lovely but it just doesn‘t FLY. 2mo
alisonrose @xicanti Yeah, I can‘t really put my finger on it but there‘s just something lacking 2mo
32 likes2 comments
blurb
alisonrose
The Painted Drum: A Novel | Louise Erdrich
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I‘ve read one other book by Louise Erdrich and liked it well enough, but it wasn‘t very memorable or striking. But this sounds like it could be more up my alley. I mean, the synopsis says that it “explores the often fraught relationship between mothers and daughters” and that‘s a major buzzword (buzzphrase?) for me. #nowreading

Tamra I generally haven‘t been a huge fan, but this one is one of my favorite books! (edited) 2mo
38 likes1 comment
quote
charl08
The Painted Drum: A Novel | Louise Erdrich
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Wisdom from Louise Erdrich.

38 likes1 stack add
blurb
Blueberry
The Painted Drum: A Novel | Louise Erdrich
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While the author feels like she's rambling with this I find I am enjoying it, to my surprise.

CouronneDhiver I find her books to be slow in pace, overall... 2y
62 likes2 stack adds1 comment
blurb
mdm139
The Painted Drum: A Novel | Louise Erdrich
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GondorGirl Ooo- let me know how this is. I've had a copy sitting in my TBR pile for ages... 2y
19 likes1 comment
quote
jdtchicago
The Painted Drum: A Novel | Louise Erdrich

Life will break you. Nobody can protect you from that, and living alone won't either, for solitude will also break you with its yearning. You have to love...to feel. It is the reason you are here on earth...And when it happens that you are broken...or hurt, or death brushes near, let yourself sit by an apple tree and listen to the apples falling all around you in heaps, wasting their sweetness. Tell yourself you tasted as many as you could.

Eggs Looooove this 2y
Wbabdullah What a quote!!❤️ 2y
29 likes3 stack adds2 comments
quote
amvs1111
The Painted Drum: A Novel | Louise Erdrich
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"You have to love. You have to feel. It is the reason you are here on earth. You are here to risk your heart. You are here to be swallowed up. And when it happens that you are broken, or betrayed, or left, or hurt, or death brushes near, let yourself sit by an apple tree and listen to the apples falling all around you in heaps, wasting their sweetness. Tell yourself you tasted as many as you could."

2 likes1 stack add
review
amvs1111
The Painted Drum: A Novel | Louise Erdrich
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Pickpick

Full of poignant tidbits and raw emotion, particularly grief, guilt, and love. I appreciated the interwoven tales illustrating how we both wound and heal one another. I also enjoyed the glimpses into Native American spirituality that encouraged me to consider my own connections the earth and my ancestors.

JazzFeathers This book has been on my TBR list for a while. I was told this is a very peculiar author (haven't read her yet myself). I'm intrigued :) 3y
amvs1111 @JazzFeathers This was my first of her novels, and I'll read more! 3y
2 likes2 comments
review
xplodybrain
The Painted Drum: A Novel | Louise Erdrich
Mehso-so

My first Erdrich book. The writing, without a doubt, is spectacular. This particular novel was written as a series of little vignettes that were sometimes a bit jarring in their abruptness. My favorite was the middle when the reader gets some history surrounding the painted drum. Good pick for folks looking for some light magical realism in addition to a bit Native American lore, but I'm told, a departure from the author's normal style.

JazzFeathers Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I've never read this author before, but l was told she's very peculiar, so l decided to buy this book because it sounded like one of her most accessible. Uhm... let's see what l think when l read it ;) 3y
2 likes1 comment
blurb
Yamich49
The Painted Drum: A Novel | Louise Erdrich
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I'm bad at losing bookmarks (most of the time in books that I DNF and I discover them months later) so I don't buy them a lot. These are my regulars - a bunch from a local used bookstore, some random items I appropriate for bookmark use and always at least one nerdy one!

BookishFeminist The Out of Print cards are great bookmarks! Love this book, too, and everything by Louise Erdrich. 😊 4y
16 likes2 stack adds1 comment
quote
kgroom3
The Painted Drum: A Novel | Louise Erdrich

And when it happens that you are broken, or betrayed, or hurt, or death brushes near, let yourself sit by an apple tree and listen to the apples falling all around you in heaps, wasting their sweetness. Tell yourself that you tasted as many as you could. (2/2)

quote
kgroom3
The Painted Drum: A Novel | Louise Erdrich

Life will break you. Nobody can protect you from that, and living alone won't either, for solitude will also break you with its yearning. You have to love. You have to feel. It is the reason you are here on earth. You are here to risk your heart. You are here to be swallowed up. (1/2)