Read The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse by Louise Erdrich Online


This is the story of Father Damien Modeste, priest to his beloved people, the Ojibwe. Modeste, nearing the end of his life, dreads the discovery of his physical identity -- for he is a woman who has lived as a man.For more than a half century, Father Damien Modeste has served his beloved people, the Ojibwe, on the remote reservation of Little No Horse. To complicate his feThis is the story of Father Damien Modeste, priest to his beloved people, the Ojibwe. Modeste, nearing the end of his life, dreads the discovery of his physical identity -- for he is a woman who has lived as a man.For more than a half century, Father Damien Modeste has served his beloved people, the Ojibwe, on the remote reservation of Little No Horse. To complicate his fears, his quiet life changes when a troubled colleague comes to the reservation to investigate the life of the perplexing, difficult, possibly false saint Sister Leopolda. Father Damien alone knows the strange truth of Sister Leopolda's piety and is faced with the most difficult decision of his life: Should he reveal all he knows and risk everything? Or should he manufacture a protective history though he believes Leopolda's wonder-working is motivated by evil?...

Title : The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780007136353
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 368 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse Reviews

  • Saleh MoonWalker
    2018-11-28 23:59

    Onvan : The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse - Nevisande : Louise Erdrich - ISBN : 7136358 - ISBN13 : 9780007136353 - Dar 368 Safhe - Saal e Chap : 2000

  • Brandon
    2018-12-09 02:52

    While much has been made about configurations of gender in the novels of Louise Erdrich, Last Report of Miracles from Little No Horse (LRMLNH) transcends earlier accomplishments from The Beet Queen and The Antelope Wife. The unifying aspect of sex becomes the force early in this story that turns the plot back to Tracks, bringing an astonishing depth to a story we thought we already knew.For those not familiar with the novels of Erdrich, many of the characters in LRMLNH were introduced in earlier books. In this story, a priest on a remote reservation in Minnesota writes a missive to The Pope, telling the pontiff he’s got the wrong person in mind for sainthood: Sister Leopolda, a woman whose either-or-but-not-both attitude is potently destructive. Instead, the priest tells The Pope about the witness he received from the tribe of Mary Kashpaw, Lulu, Fleur Pillager and (my favorite) Grandpa Nanapush. In a sense, this novel is a satire of religious conversion memoirs from earlier centuries.Although there are many ways to connect this novel to others in Erdrich’s round of stories, I’m interested in her use of music, something that significantly helped the characters of Tracks survive the harsh winter of 1917-1918. Music seems related to the concept of flow, be it blood, water, wine or the transfiguration of one to another.In other novels, Erdrich has used water as a volatile symbol, so LRMLNH astonishes with its variation on the motif. The water of the natural world in Love Medicine is still imbued with significance in LRMLNH, but Erdich links characters to nature by the flow of that water. Sister Cecilia leaves the convent when Mother Superior hides all music (except Bach) because the midnight playing of Chopin’s “Prelude in E Minor” wakes Mother Superior in sweat & tears with memories of her own dead mother (15). In one deft scene, Erdrich dramatizes the spiritual link between family, spirit and the flow of water. This early leave-taking becomes more amazing when considered with the novel’s conclusion.The connection between music and family is subtle but startling once we realize that some music is sex. For example, Berndt Vogel--a farmer whom Sr. Cecilia goes to work for--uses the piano to keep her around; Cecilia, in turn, uses music to seduce him (a bit like the movie The Piano) While Sr. Cecilia practices piano, Berndt practices for loving her. The musical sex described on page 21 is more astounding than the traditional sex described on page 24. For an author as accomplished at writing eroticism (Tales of Burning Love is particularly memorable in exploring the diversity of physical love), Erdrich continues to astonish in LRMLNH.The musical sex Berndt and Agnes share is a kind of birth control, unless we consider music the offspring. This book is about the spirit transcending the physical. It is interesting that Fr. Damien looks at the piano as “sleeping child” (6-7). Few writers have written as much non-fiction on parenting as Erdrich (The Blue Jay’s Dance, Books & Islands in Ojibwe Country and whatever contributions she made to Michael Dorris’ Broken Cord). So it is with interest that I look at the spiritual rebirths in LRMLNH, in particular, Fr. Damien’s realization that being reborn once might not be enough. And the novel is not talking about reincarnation, but opening a new dimension of one person, and music seems to be present throughout the conversions.When Fr. Damien plays the piano in the new church, snakes come from the ground, giving him good standing with the Anishinaabeg (220). The snakes or ginebigoog come from the lower levels to hear the priest play piano, thus bringing the people to church because the snakes are known to be wise. All these things occur in Chapter 12, “The Audience,” one of the most philosophical passages in all Erdrich for it is here music elucidates the distinctions between European and American approaches to language, time and love. As for me, this chapter is sacred literature. So to quote from it I risk the heresy of paraphrase (don't we always?), but the poetry found within Erdrich’s prose is worth it: “Divine love may be so large it cannot see us."Or it may be so infinitely tiny that it works at a level where it directs us like an unknown substance buried in our blood."Or it may be transparent, an invisible screen, a filter through which we see and hear all that is created. "Oh my friends…”The snakes lifted their bullet-smooth heads, flicked their tongues to catch the vibrations of the sounds the being made somewhere before them.”I am like you,” said Father Damien to the snakes, “curious and small. Like you, I poise alertly and open my senses to try to read the air, the clouds, the sun’s slant, the little movements of the animals, all in the hope I will learn the secret of whether I am loved.”(227)The novel earns this philosophical indulgence with physical hardship of surviving the Era of Benign Neglect. It is the spiritual transcendence mistaken as a loss of faith that makes this novel so rich. If survival is to be more than a physical act, survivors need to evolve spiritually, which here seems to be not a loss of faith but a loss of misunderstanding.

  • switterbug (Betsey)
    2018-11-19 00:06

    If you yoked Faulkner with Garcia-Marquez, and anointed them with the comic hijinx of John Irving, you would experience a sense of Louise Erdrich's poetic, visually imaginative power. She interweaves a traditional pagan mysticism with Catholic catechism, the animate with the anthropomorphic. The central figure, Father Damien Modeste, is a Catholic missionary priest who, since coming to the Little No Horse reservation in 1912, has fluidly blended the customs of the Ojibwe people with the Holy Trinity. Through his eighty years there on the reservation (he is at least 100 years old now), he has integrated the spiritual faiths into a potent hybrid, a mystic fusion that also informs the book's imagery, without a shred of proselytizing. Father Damien takes great pleasure in forgiveness, in absolving all of people's sins at confession.Many of Erdrich's characters develop over time in her Argus novels, with intricate histories and relationships. Father Damien was a peripheral character in past books, such as Love Medicine,The Beet Queen and Tracks. Erdrich's use of the multi-narrative voice and nonlinear storyline brings specific characters in and out of focus at different times and in different books. In LAST REPORT, I could sense the full lives of characters such as Nanapush, Damien's closest friend, who came with a full history by the time he was introduced in this book. It is difficult to review this novel without mentioning some surprises about Father Damien's identity, which is shared in the first several pages. However, I leave that to the reader to discover, and will give very little plot point information.Father Damien is now at the end of his life. He has been writing letters to the Vatican asking for spiritual guidance for half a century, awaiting a reply, persevering in this quest. When Father Jude shows up, it is not for the reasons Damien is hoping for. Rather, Father Jude has come to interview the cleric and others because the Vatican is considering Little No Horse's deceased Sister Leopolda (the Puyat) for sainthood. The Sister is inexplicably bound up with some reported miracles on the reservation. However, she was also a treacherous woman responsible for the tragic fate of several people. During the investigation of Sister Leopolda, Father Damien's extraordinary life unfolds.Erdrich's prose is so dense and dynamic that you can extract any line and see multiple images expanding. Her sentences are not merely strung together to get to the next one. Like beautiful poetry, the journey of a single phrase can make you pause and shudder. Her sense of character is not limited to the sentient and her depiction of place contains a blend of what is now and what is ancient. I am still revisiting passages just for its supple beauty. Erdrich is an alpha-female writer; the robust writing/story doesn't depend on sentiment or emotional manipulation, but rather on singularity and strength. Flinty, brutal, feral, mystical, and inflammatory, this book is a postmodern world of the supernatural and earthly, intoxicated with great passion and love, deep sorrow and regret. And occasionally, it is hilarious.I observed immediately that Erdrich's narrative keeps the reader at a certain distance, but it's the same way that the moon is at a distance when we gaze upon it. Too close and we would lose perspective. Within the chapters are subheadings that could rightly be their own vignettes and character studies. The structure reflects Erdrich's fealty to oral storytelling --the Native American tradition of language and the land, of birth and death, of revenant spirits, and the eternal cycles of nature. Father Damien's letters to the Vatican and his interview with Father Jude weaves the disparate narratives together, and shows the reader his candor beyond the cloak of secrecy.I can see a higher power inhabiting the nun's fingers that channel Chopin; in the heart that beats in its cage; brittle old bones buried in the earth; the broken bits of sun flashing through the trembling leaves; a cold fat moon of an early frost; the long shadow of a life.

  • Brad
    2018-12-08 01:04

    I have to admit that I didn't finish this book. I vowed to myself, back when I slogged my way through the insufferable Anna Karenina, that I would never again finish a book just because I had started it -- and I continue to live by that standard. Still, I came very near the end, and my complaint about The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse could not have been repaired in the space left. What it boils down to is this: for me, Erdrich didn't achieve a genuine internal life for all her characters. I bought the perspective of Agnes/Father Damien, but when Erdrich shifted perspectives to Berndt or Lulu or Nestor or Father Jude, I just didn't believe in them. The reason is simple. They all had the same connection to their sensations and feelings as Agnes, and that is just not feasible. All of her characters engage completely with the world around them. They all feel the textures and smell the smells and taste the tastes and hear the sounds and see beyond boring sight. One character with that gift in a story is totally believable. Two characters in a story I can understand. But more than that and I call "bullshit." I have known maybe three to four people in my entire life who have a true relationship and understanding of their sensations (although I am sure there are countless more who think they do), and I just can't buy an entire reservation full of folks with that ability. It's a shame too. Erdrich is a truly poetical prose artist. I just don't believe in her characters, and that is all important to me.

  • Diane S ☔
    2018-11-21 02:56

    I just loved this book. Such a wonderful portrayal of Father Damien (actually a woman who finds her life as a priest through very strange circumstances) and the Ojibwa Indians on a Dakota reservation. The prose was beautiful and while the story went back and forth from past to present, Erdrich does such a fantastic job acquainting the reader with all the main characters and their stories this was not confusing to me. I felt like I was intimately acquainted with all of them, and loved reading about their lives. Some parts made me laugh and some parts made me sad, I had such compassion for most of these characters. Didn't want the book to end.

  • Neal Adolph
    2018-12-15 05:58

    I need a chance to catch my breath; maybe I need to learn how to breathe once again; maybe I need to get new lungs. I don’t know. I don’t understand. Last night I was reading this book and then it happened and I wasn’t sure why it had to, it being the ending of the book, and it being, like all things in this book, truly wonderfully beautiful, dark, earthy, coloured with the hues of the prairie sky hovering over a cool lake as the first winds of Autumn move onto the land. This novel is massive in scale, in storytelling, in its shaping of characters. It is also a massive success, a true accomplishment, a testament to the power of literature. I have struggled to write about it now for days; not for lack of trying. I have written several reviews, written about it in my reading diary, in my writing diary, and several times in my journals as I reflect upon its lessons in unexpected moments. I will fail to keep this draft as short as I hoped to.This book is an Epic about Love, with the Germanic Capitalization fully intact and intended. Love is the central character of this story; a love of place, of God, of a community, of trees, of rivers, of cars, of wives, of broken wives, of work, of devotion, of books, of music, of the feeling of a piano under your feet, of virginal statues, of making virginal statues, of women, of men, of the careful line between the two, of influence and dependence, of marriage, of divorce, of moose, of lives well lived, of lives cut short, of the Western world, of the First Nations. This book is an Epic about Love. It plays with it, of course, rolls the idea of Love around in its mouth like a caramel, sucking out all of the sweetness, turning it into a fully spent melancholy. In the rotations, it plays with the idea of colonialism as it formed itself in the 20th century, with the idea of the church and the devotion of priests to their flock, with the idea of man and the idea of woman, with the great acting of gender, with how gender is understood in different worlds separated by different languages, with the idea of strength, with the idea of weakness, with the idea of spirits, with the idea of witnessing. Love resurrects a man in this story. It does it twice. Love saves a child from death. Love makes men break their vows. Love brings a cancer patient to the site of their only Love, and Love makes a man care for that man out of Love. Love develops out of an abduction, only to be soured, in a matter of sentences, by the mystery of heartbreak and the birth of a child. Love separates a mother from her daughter after the daughter has been separated from her mother. This book is an Epic about Love, and Love is a beautiful, rupturing catastrophe in the form human.There were times when reading this book required putting it down and not reading it. There are stories here which seem to play with your heart without regard. Tragedy after tragedy piles up, and the characters which are briefly explored become important and beautiful, well-loved figures in your literary imagination just before their world in crumpled beneath them or around them. But these events are punctured by joyful, beautiful moments, even by humour. You will laugh at the folly of man while reading this book, and you will spend days walking in a malaise, wondering if you will ever acquire the strength to read and be vulnerable with literature again. We are offered all of these sensations in the most wonderful writing, poetic and earthy and compassionate. It could be no other way. Erdrich treats her readers to an adventure and, as Toni Morrison famously suggested in a review of Erdrich’s first novel, we can only survive the shape of the book because of her control over her language. It is beautiful. When you read it, you read it in a revelry, when you can’t read it anymore, you think about the adventure thus far in revelry. Have I mentioned yet this is an Epic of Love? There are new images, new events in this small head of mine, they are linked to this book, and they will hopefully never leave me. One of them is that incredible, respectful ending.Is it perfect? No. At least, not quite as a standalone fixture. I would have appreciated a bit more of a grounding in the history of the space and place, and maybe a bit more help making sense of the powerful women that move in and out of the story. But let us be honest about this, none of Erdrich books (aside from perhaps The Antelope Wife) are made to be read individually, and so we shouldn’t be judging them individually as we do, say, works by Tolstoy or Steinbeck or Lispector. This book is better because I have read and loved Tracks. Tracks is better because I have read and loved this book. And now, as I move forward and plan my deeper journeys into Erdrich’s tiny little universe, I am confident that each book will enhance those books which I have read before it. We should breathe with each of these Little No Horse books into us as it takes each of its individual stories and weaves them with the stories we find in the other books set in this same reservation; this is a history of multiplicities, of many events, and we are invited to watch as Erdrich develops this community into something vast and amazing through several books, each with its own perspective, each with its own flavour of generosity, each with its own intent, each with its own explanation of the very human, tragic, and beautiful past of this imagined community. This parasitic, maybe symbiotic relationship is a marvel and honour to witness. This is the full revelation of literary power.Erdrich is the real deal.

  • David
    2018-11-25 23:03

    It has been a while since I read a book which made me genuinely laugh out loud as I read it and which brought me to tears at other times. This book was one of those types of reads for me. I have read a few of Erdrich's previous novels and I have enjoyed all of them. In every one of her novels we are exposed to the inner thoughts and dialouge's of her multiple characters. Many of her works deal with the different extremes of love and how one experiences love in its different forms. From the mountainous Mary Kashpaw and her silent and enormous love for Father Damien; through Lulu and her many and frequent liasons; all the way to Agnes herself and her abiding, all-encompasing, life-time's worth of love for her adopted people; we get to witness different forms of love as we read this novel. Love can redeem us and love can curse us but it is what makes us most human.This was a truely humanizing work which I would recommend to anyone who enjoys a nice slow progression of a plot with many fine details and many individual moments of laughter, sadness, ferocity, and spirit.To end with a quote from Father Damien, "What is the whole of our existence but the sound of an appalling love?"

  • Allie Riley
    2018-12-09 04:13

    "What is the whole of our existence but the sound of an appalling love?" (p355).Both poetic and magical, "The Last Report On The Miracles At Little No Horse", is a profoundly spiritual book. It consists of the recollections of "Father Damien Modeste" (in reality Agnes DeWitt, an ex-nun who narrowly escaped being murdered at the beginning of the story) of 'his' ministry to the Native Americans on the Ojibwe reservations. Throughout his time there he had written copious letters to the Vatican concerning the possible canonisation of Sister Leopolda (ne Pauline Puyat) and the narrative flashes between the stories they related and his final revelations to the representative who arrives, at last, in response to the them.In the process, a great many grand themes are dealt with: love, faith, good, evil, the nature of ministry, the morality of attempting to evangelise/convert, the concept of sainthood, the power of music and so on. All of which is to reduce this wonderfully evocative novel to a prosaic list. I cannot do it justice. Allow Erdrich's faboulous saga to envelop you. Drink deeply of its wisdom. A beautiful book. Read.

  • Mosca
    2018-12-06 00:16

    What a beautiful ending for another complex story by Louise Erdrich!This is a book that twisted my opinions around its premises more times than once. At times preposterous, and at times profound--this tale binds the reader up into its characters' choices. Choices that we don't always agree with, but seem frequently to find ourselves complicit in. And although sometimes I felt that small plot twists were a bit pat, I found that their weave into the greater tapestry of Erdrich's telling were more forgivable once we understand where she has brought us. ******************************************************************Nov 2013----I've now read this through, completely, a second time. This book is a masterpiece.

  • Jessica
    2018-11-19 21:58

    This epic spans generations but centers around the life of the fascinating Father Damien. Every aspect of his story is compelling, as are the journeys into the lives of other characters on the reservation. Erdrich deftly balances depth and breadth to create a vast yet intricately detailed and rich web of personalities, relationships, and histories. The tension between Catholicism and traditional Ojibwe spirituality is explored poignantly without demonizing either side. Erdrich writes with a powerful, vivid clarity and characterizes her subjects with such depth and truth that I cannot wait to read the rest of her novels. I enjoyed Love Medicine a few months ago and was thrilled to see many of the same characters in this novel. In the end notes, she thanks Paybomibiness (Dennis Jones), who taught at the University of Minnesota while I was a student there and spoke to my American Indian philosophies class about Ojibwe spirituality. He was fascinating and funny.

  • Francine
    2018-12-09 01:00

    This was my introduction to Louise Erlich, and I have since read most of her books. Her writing is exquisite. She brings forth the experience of the Native American with great accessiblity and little romance (in the sense of wanting people to be in a way that they actually are not). This story is based on a person that actually existed and fooled everyone in contact with her into believing she was not only a man, but a priest. This is a singularly remarkable book and written with such compassion and at the same time detachment... I was enthralled.I saw her speak once and told her that I tended to take her descriptions of ethnic traditions and stories as fact, could she comment? She said she often takes a true story, and then embellishes how she thinks things must have been, using her knowledge of her Native American relatives and her own view of how it is to be a human being. She gave a specific example but I'll keep that to myself. That was good enough for me.

  • Sue Bridehead (A Pseudonym)
    2018-12-09 22:16

    Another beautiful, moving book from Ms. Erdrich. Probably her most ambitious.There's some great, hilarious stuff with Nanapush in this book, scenes that I'm sure I'll always remember -- a moose chase gone awry, and a series of very funny resurrections. There are also many beautiful passages about faith, some of which caused me to close the book and think for a while before moving on. For me, that's a sign that a book is working on me at a deeper level than just story.I'd call this a must-read, though if you're a first-timer to her work, you might be better off starting with an earlier novel so you have some background on the characters. Having re-read "Love Medicine" late last year, I was in a better position to grasp her incredibly complex Ojibwe family tree.

  • Matt Fox
    2018-12-09 02:55

    My experience with this book was one of the most unique I ever had when reading, particularly with one chapter toward the end in which i found myself both laughing and crying, almost simultaneously. I have taught Erdrich's short stories to college survey courses and she was a favorite of my students. The narrative saga of her Objiwe characters continues, specifically in Kapshaw, Nanapush, and Fleur, but you don't need to have had read her previous works to enjoy this one. The story is definitely mesmerizing: a nun, who leaves the convent, ends up posing as a priest on a reservation. What is also fascinating is how he/she finds that her role of converting his/her flock is not as paramount as how the surrounding culture converts her. She adopts the language and culture of her new congregation as well as adds to the Holy Trinity a fourth component: the land. The story also reminds me of a true life story of a saint, but from Roman times: St. Mary/Marinos, who is another cross-dressing religious figure who achieves sainthood for his/her works.

  • Maureen
    2018-11-22 01:16

    Incredible! This book is easily one of the best books I have read in the last five years. Erdrich's prose reads like poetry and her use of language is so elegantly accomplished I often found myself either moved to tears or simply breathless from the impact of her words. Erdrich skillfully prepared each and every word, phrase and sentence before it was placed on the page much like a chef prepares a fine meal- to delight the reader's palate and imagination. I dreaded the end of this book only because I did not want the story to end. This delivers from start to finish and I put it down upon completion fully satisfied and delighted by the experience.

  • Nathan
    2018-11-27 23:58

    Something I've noticed going through the reviews of Erdrich's books on here is that she gets compared a lot to William Faulkner. This makes some sense. Like Faulkner's Yoknapatawpha, Erdrich has created her own community filled with well fleshed out characters at Little No Horse. There's a vast and impressive history she's made up filled with multiple viewpoints all along the way. But the author who Erdrich reminds me the most of was Woolf. She's got the same ability to occupy her characters' psyche, the same sense of artistic imagery and the plot of The Last Report on the Miracles Little No Horse probably sounds pretty familiar to Woolf fans. It focuses on a gender changing person chosen by fate to live an unnaturally long life, viewing many major historical events from the sidelines all the while.Does that ring a bell yet? But to compare Erdrich feels reductive to her talents. I kept a mental list of all the people I felt she was similar to, and it went from Rushdie to Morrison to Steinbeck, yet none of those felt entirely right either.Part of the reason that The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse is such an enjoyable novel is that Erdrich seems to be a bit of a stylistic chameleon throughout it. Much like in The Round House she does a fantastic job at incorporating humor into tragedy, the surreal into the natural and grit into the peaceful. The range of feelings she's able to show is what makes her worth reading. Also like The Round House, this book addresses social issues without ever getting on a soapbox. Erdrich wants her readers to draw their own conclusions, so instead of preaching she presents her views in a way that is wholly compassionate to each side of the story. I know nothing about what gender dysphoria feels like, but Erdrich flipped the script to help me understand better. Agnes and Damien both exist at the same time, even though, in a traditional view of the gender binary, it should make no sense for them to inhabit the same body. Agnes, however, has to hide who she truly is, or else she risks friendship, love, and her overall sense of security. The Last Report (etc.) presents me with a view that I had the luxury of never considering before, which again, was instrumental in why I loved it so much.And the view she presents of spirituality is also incredibly nuanced. The Ojibwe and the Catholics each have power to do good for the people, provided that they're used to inspire kindness and hope in their followers. Father Damien feels closest to God whenever he's showing his love for the people, not when he's being pious. Erdrich writes of the power of a personal relationship with God: Wherever she prayed, she made of herself a temporary center... There she allowed herself to fall apart. Disintegrated into pieces of creation, which God might pick up and turn curiously this way or that to catch the light. What a relief it was, for those moments, to be nothing, a smashed thing, and to have no thought or expectation. (Erdrich 182)But all of what I've jotted down here probably means nothing without an actual reading of The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse. The quickest way to summarize this novel is to steal the words of Toni Morrison on Erdrich (okay, it's from her review of Love Medicine, but it's still applicable here): "The beauty of [her writing] saves us from being completely devastated by its power"

  • Lindsay
    2018-11-18 23:01

    Oh, my hodge-podge of immediate feeling! At first I thought it best to sleep on it, write something tomorrow, as sleep tends to ameliorate just about anything, but what the hell.Is this 4 stars? 5 stars? First, to get my few quabbles out of the way, which may just be my own and no real flaw of the book. This being the fifth-and-a-half Erdrich book I've read, I have been steeped enough in the mythology and history of her Little No Horse/Argus/North Dakota nether regions to know a lot of the skinny already behind the mysteries in this book. Not that it matters much because I begin to realize how much I forget from previous stories, and then I get frustrated and resolve for the nth time to reread all these books again. Someday. I am starting to muddle all the information I've learned thus far, enough so that it sometimes held back some of my enjoyment of the moment. Has anyone else had this problem, or is it just another hell constructed by my OCD, literary fact-checking mind? Similarly, much to my annoyance because I desperately try to avoid this, I've lately guessed endings/outcomes to many books I read, and Last Report proved as no exception...that was a little bit of a letdown. I also got confused as to which parts of Father Damien's reports were known to Father Jude. Some minutiae Jude seemed to understand quite well, whereas others--primarily the fact that Damien is a WOMAN and all issues surrounding this matter--go quite undetected. This seems a little careless to me on Erdrich's part. Can someone out there tell me if I'm mistaken?And yet, I really did enjoy this book. Though I loved Damien/Agnes, I truly love Nanapush. Even though I'm sure he's supposed to be Father Damien's foil, thereby giving Damien the limelight, he absolutely stands first in my mind. The crafty chess scene with Damien...brilliant! Trying to steal a wife from his best friend...strangely endearing. But--I agree with Meghan on this--"Le Mooz" may be the best single chapter I've read in a while. What's not to love? Moose rides, flatulence, necrophilia, and love above and beyond it all? This is what wins me over.And how we, every single character, develop love and compassion through (or in spite of?) agitation and restlessness. Or understanding how we interpret everything to be a miracle until another explanation arises. The matters of faith, holiness, and be so integral to the lives of so many and yet be entirely do we select our heroes and villains? Who has a right to say which is which? Who deserves to know who the heroes are? Even though Last Report obviously has its own answers, this book does have a lot of delicious gray area that I was glad to read after the rather underwhelming black and white of Narcissus and Goldmund I read a few books back. (I’m feeling a little guilt in suggesting that Erdrich trumps Hesse for me now.) And on a side note, LR only heightened my longing for playing the piano once again. I’m a sucker for people who write about pianos.Like many others before it, this book leaves me with a number of questions to figure out for myself...questions I probably won’t, can’t take the time to answer just yet, but will find elsewhere on down the road.*******I haven't quite stopped thinking about this book in the nine months since I finished deserves 5 stars.

  • Rusty
    2018-12-04 01:20

    I found myself chuckling and enjoying this read so very much. The character of Father Damien Modeste is well developed. Found the transition from a nun named Sister Cecelia to Agnes, the live-in common law wife, to Father Damien Modeste fascinating. As she develops her persona as a priest one can't help but smile or chuckle out loud. While she operates as a priest she doesn't fool many of the tribal people who get to know her/him well.Father Damien takes his role as priest at the reservation seriously. As he gets to know individuals in the tribe he makes many friends. Nevertheless, his mistakes haunt his dreams. He writes to the Pope letter after letter seeking advice and/or forgiveness. No answers arrive. Still he continues, year after year.There are many humorous episodes in this book. My favorite is the one with the moose who drags the aging Nanapush in a boat around the reservation which makes for much laughter. Erdrich's descriptions of that incident had me picturing the entire episode. And, when Nanapush comes to life not once but twice at his wake the images were hilarious. The aging Father Damien has a visitor to ascertain whether an Indian woman is due for sainthood. As he visits with Farther Jude, Modeste finds himself reliving parts of his life. Especially poignant for him was the time spent with Father Gregory Wekkle to whom she is attracted physically. They fall in love and spend their evenings making love while during the days they go about their priestly duties. For me, the humanness of Agnes/Father Damien is so realistic.Another important aspect of this read is the insight the author gives the reader into the Ojibwe culture, beliefs, mindset and humor. Father Damien's encounters with the talking black dog are an example. What an outstanding read!

  • Carl R.
    2018-11-20 02:09

    Louise Erdrich’s work is no secret. She’s been one of those rarities among artists--both popular and respected--at least since Love Medicine won the National Book Award around 1993. In ensuing years, she’s built a universe of and constellation of characters comparable to Faulkner’s Yoknapatawpha county. Her marriage to novelist Michael Dorris (Yellow Raft on Blue Water is his best known; their collaboration The Crown of Columbus is a unique piece of historical fiction.) Their good work among Indian victims of alcohol is (See his The Broken Cord, the story of adopting a child with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.) and the circumstances of his 1997 suicide are worthy of attention both within and outside the literary world. But I’ve just finished The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse and want to use this space to revel in her magic. The last Erdrich I read was The Painted Drum which disappointed me with its lack of dramatic tension. Little No Horse has no such problem. Every section, virtually every page, has its own story, yet each story is part of a whole in a novel that covers eighty-plus years in the life of Agnes DeWitt, who spends most of her life as the priest Father Damien Modeste serving his/her parishioners on the North Dakota reservation of Little No Horse. (To give you an idea of what a relentless storyteller Erdrich is, even her end notes contain the fascinating story of how the reservation got its name.) Of course, as usual with her, the story spans much more time and space--in both the earthly and spirit worlds--than the lifetime of this sham priest. Erdrich’s prose is at once grounded in reality, earthy, and spiritual. I opened the book at random and happened on this one passage describing the child Lulu’s attempt to escape from boarding school by hiding under a traveling school bus:....My teeth chattered at first but then the [exhaust] pipe under me, the middle pipe, grew warm. It ran straight down the center of me, warming me, burning me, although that would be in the end a complete surprise.All through my life, to the mystery of my devoutest lovers, I have borne that central scorch mark--a think stripe of gold lighter than my skin, a line evenly dividing me, running between my breasts and vanishing between my legs. And it is Lulu’s nature to embody the essence of both good and evil in her life, yet her inner nature is expressed in a decidedly unmetaphorical event. And so it is with even the smallest details of Erdrich’s writing. A character leans over, brushing her hair, and the hair will brush the ground, then root to it--if only for a moment--and a simple act becomes a metaphor for communing with nature. All in the space of fewer words than I have taken to describe it. And the reader experiences that communion at the same time as wondering what just happened. I guess what’s happened is a shock of connection between the spiritual/physical/emotional planes of existence, which is what we seek always in art. That unity of all the disparate pieces of ourselves that most of the time lie scattered yet always pull toward one another.And that’s the reason I’m talking about Louise Erdrich’s whole body of work here. Before The Painted Drum for me, there was Tales of Burning Love, which is nearly as exhilarating as Miracles, but includes many of the same characters, or references to them. Each new approach to the Erdrich world, then, widens one’s understanding of the people, their history, their spirit. Every artist is part of a tradition, of course, and Erdrich includes not only the magical realism of her Native American soul, but a number of distinctly American literary motifs, the most notable one for me in Miracles is the tall tale. The story of Nanapush and the moose as well as his subsequent wake/funeral deserves to be enshrined as right up there with Paul Bunyan--except it’s too risque to get into the children’s stoybooks. Another section is in a category of its own--have you ever read of a nun climaxing while playing Chopin? One theory of art has it that the greater the volume of reality a work embodies, the more satisfying it is to the audience which experiences it. Erdrich embodies an enormous hunk of reality, and too read her work is to enrich our every aspect.

  • Pearl
    2018-12-12 00:01

    It's been so long since I read Louise Erdrich's first book, "Love Medicine," that when I picked it up after finishing "The Last Report . . . " its pages were yellowed. I remembered nothing of the story but remembered thinking it was wonderful and read her second book, "The Beet Queen" with much anticipation. I found it very grim and stopped reading Erdrich. So when my book club proposed "The Last Report..." I was ready to try her again.Her writing is still delightful - fluid, descriptive, witty. She has a wonderful sense of humor, of the ironic, and is a great story teller. Trouble is, there's just too much going on in this book. Themes and motifs galore. Murder mysteries unraveled. "Saints" unmade or unrealized. And a lot of farce. Matter of fact, is the whole story a farce?The story is set on an Ojibwa reservation in North Dakota and spans most of the 20th Century. It's the tale of a one-time nun (Agnes DeWitt aka Sister Cecelia) who is asked to leave her convent because of her obsession with Chopin, whom she plays with such un-nunly passion that all who hear her are disturbed, unquiet. Through a series of misfortunes and with nothing to do and no place to go, she ends up assuming the identity of a priest, a Father Damien, who has been assigned to minister to the Anishinaaabeg. We come to know six families (well, "know" might be an overstatement - it's very hard to keep track of who's who)on this remote reservation. Their lives are interwoven with one another and with Father Damien/Agnes. Questions of Catholicism vs. Native American spirituality arise for the priest. Contrasts between the sympathetic, forgiving Father Damien and the harsh, life-nullifying Sister Leopolda are drawn. The difficult life on the reservation of Indians who have been robbed not only of their land but also of their way of life and have suffered the scourges of the white man's diseases are sharply drawn. Father Damien spends eight decades ministering to his people. They truly become his people. Yet, he is a fraud - a woman cannot be a priest, cannot administer the sacraments. If he/she is found out, will all his work - all the baptisms be nullified? And his converts not saved?The story if framed by an inquiry into sainthood. A young priest is sent by the bishop to inquire into the life of Sister Leopolda. There are reports of miracles she has performed, of having the stigmata. Is she a worthy candidate for canonization? By the end of his investigation, the young priest wonders if he shouldn't be thinking of Father Damien instead. He, of course, doesn't know Father Damien's big secret nor doe4s he know many other things that we, the reader, have been let in on about this fallible priest. But we are led to wonder too. What makes a saint?Yes, it's a bit of a grim story but also very funny, often very farcical and full of interesting characters, sympathetically portrayed. In the end, though, too much. Too much confusion of characters, themes, magical events and so on. I often know how well I like a book by the rate at which I read as I'm coming to the conclusion. If I love the book and love the characters, I don't want to leave them. I slow down my reading. About 3/4th of the way through this book, I sped up. I'd had enough. I wanted to be done.

  • Lynneharper
    2018-12-12 22:17

    Picked this one up at a garage sale because I'd read "Tracks" years ago and liked it. Excellent story set on a reservation around the turn of the last century. Louise Erdrich is a Native American who writes with great humor and eloquence. It was interesting to read this after reading "A People's History of the United States"-- Andrew Jackson's war against the natives not only decimated tribes physically, but found a way, using competition for individual land ownership, to pit one native against another even within the tribal family. This was the ultimate undoing of native resistance.Erdrich's novel, set much later in history, reflects the long term affect of Jackson's scheme.

  • Carla
    2018-11-20 04:19

    A must read book, truly original characters!!!! Erdrich is a gifted storyteller who has a seemingly endless well of native / indian characters to draw from. None of her characters ever feel like that...characters in a book drawn to instruct you, instead you fall in love with them, warts and all, and know that they live on even after you finish the last chapter, they just ARE real people. I love all her books, but this one especially captured my imagination.

  • Donna
    2018-11-15 23:10

    I wanted to love this or at least like it as much as another book by this same author that I've read, but I didn't. It was overly flowery for me. I noticed that the most. I did the audio and the narrator had a nice voice, but she couldn't do different voices so it felt like grade school getting a story read out loud. I liked the story though. It was very creative and well thought out. It was fun to see where it was going, because I never felt like I knew that.

  • Kiwi Begs2Differ✎
    2018-11-26 01:58

    I expected to love this book, but I didn’t for reasons I can’t exactly explain. It has lovely poetic writing and it is an interesting story (a woman serving as priest on a remote reservation)… perhaps too many characters, the odd mix of religion and magical realism and I found Erdrich’s style a bit over descriptive too. 2.5 stars

  • Elizabeth (Alaska)
    2018-12-12 05:18

    There are four layers above the earth and four layers below. Sometimes in our dreams and creations we pass through the layers, which are also space and time. In saying the word nindinawemaganidok, or my relatives, we speak of everything that has existed in time, the known and the unknown, the unseen, the obvious, all that lived before or is living now in the worlds above and below. -NanapushSo often an author quotes something in literature that gives the reader an insight as to what is to come. In this case, Erdrich quotes one of her characters. The effect is the same - this will be a spiritual novel that includes Ojibwe belief. In fact, it is the blending of Native belief and Catholic Christianity. I'd like to say the blending of the best of both, but I know so little of Native belief that I could be exaggerating, or completely wrong, and my knowledge of Catholicism is only slightly more. But I'd like to believe that the love Father Damien has for his flock, his ability to accept them for who they are, to see both their strengths and their weaknesses, is the best of Christianity.The life and history of Father Damien is the core of this novel, but it is not the only thing. My one complaint is that the novel is wanting in sufficient focus. Erdrich incorporates a lot of characters from prior novels. I recognized many of them, had forgotten others. This is typical of Erdrich, but in this case, there were times it made me restless. Or perhaps it was just me.Recently, a fellow Goodreader suggested that my favorite authors Balzac, Zola, and Trollope, really wrote one long novel. Surely that is true of Balzac - that was his aim - and true of Zola with his very long series. It may be true also of Trollope, although I have read only his two series. I understand that some of his characters *do* repeat in his stand alone novels. I mention these fellows here, because Louise Erdrich does the same. In the Kindle edition of Little No Horse, Erdrich talks about the reservation and the town of Argus that are the setting in all of her novels - her words. The people of those places are the characters of whom she writes. I expect to meet some of them again and again.

  • Doug Bradshaw
    2018-11-27 22:53

    Loise Erdrich's writing is absolutely beautiful. She has the ability to describe emotions and human experience from a deep and visceral level. This story of a female Catholic priest working with native americans from the early 1900s through the late 1900s is wise, deep and sometimes an amazing eye opener. There is a scene involving the slaughter of many buffalos that brought me to tears is was so powerful. Father Damien's relationship with the people of her world is wise and touching. Only one other person close to Father Damien knows that he is a female. It makes you wonder if the Catholics may want to change their male only Priest policy. I didn't give it five stars because the story bogged down a little bit here and there, but all and all, it is one of the better books I have read in the past couple of years. I learned a lot about the thinking and psychology of this interesting native american tribe. Lately I've realized more than ever how every culture evolved differently with different customs about how to live life. How arrogant have we been to assume we have the right ways and beliefs and want to force others to live like we do. This book brought out these feelings as well as any I have read.

  • Irene
    2018-11-24 06:09

    This is a difficult story to summarize. Fr. Jude is sent to investigate the life of a zealously, ascetical nun who has been submitted for the canonization process. Fr. Damien, the ancient pastor of the parish serving the Ojibwa people for the better part of the 20th century becomes the primary narrator of the story of this community and his life becomes the pole around which the larger story unfolds. Identity (people are often not what they seem), sanctity (zealous piety vs. sympathetic tolerance vs. life lived unpretentiously), love (brutal, passionate, unspoken, heroic) and much more is explored in this novel. I am not sure what I think of this book. I enjoyed the complex characters and the quality of the writing. I struggled with the magical elements, particularly those that were ambiguous. Often I was confused by the story, but always curious about where it was going. I found much of the Catholic elements implausible and therefore distracting.

  • Lian Tanner
    2018-11-29 01:51

    This is one of those books that makes me want to go through all my previous reads and downgrade the five-star ones - because they don't match up to this one. A few of them do, of course. 'The Last Report' reminded me a little of 'The Tenderness of Wolves' by Stef Penney - I think because of the depth and the beauty of the writing. It's an exquisite story, often painful, occasionally veering into magical realism, frequently funny, but always intensely human and compassionate. And the ending, with its turning around of things, is wonderful. Father Damien/Agnes is a character for the ages, full of love, wonder and enduring innocence, and determined to be what he/she is called to be, but in his/her own particular way.

  • Kimberley
    2018-11-26 00:07

    I just finished this amazing book and I know it will take me awhile to churn it over in my brain. It's 'one of those..', the kind of book that won't let go of you long after you've finished the last page, the kind that creeps into your thoughts even when you are in the middle of the next book on your never ending reading list. This is the second book by Erdrich that I've read. The first was The Master Butcher's Singing Club- also powerful. Erdrich speaks to my soul on so many different levels- everyday life, love of every kind, sacrifice,humor, joy....forgiveness. Her works are 'keepers', never to be traded or given away. I just ordered 4 more. :)

  • Lila
    2018-11-25 03:51

    This powerful novel is one of Louise Erdrich "Argus" series. At the time I started I was not aware of it being part of a series and honestly I did not feel I was missing out on any important information. I think it is more the case of the books all being set in the same universe with many of the same characters appearing in the different novels. This book has been called a masterwork and this is no exaggeration! I look forward to reading every novel Erdrich has written!

  • Beverly
    2018-12-16 22:04

    Erdrich has written a complex, exciting novel. The cast of characters is pretty large, but she remains in control of them; they are individual and important to the story. The protagonist, Agnes/Modeste, has reinvented herself several times, and the juxtaposition of her complicated life with the present action kept me reading. This was a book that I slowed my reading for; I didn't want it to end.Great for studying integration of character details into setting.