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The Sentence



by
Louise Erdrich

Edition
Hardcover edition
Publisher
HarperCollins
Imprint
Harper (Adult)
ISBN
9780062671127
POTENTIALLY SENSITIVE AREAS
Language: Strong Language , Sexual Content: Strong Sexual Content/Themes , Crime: Drug Trafficking/Dealing , Discrimination: Racial Insensitivity/Racism
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In this very brave, unusual, and forceful novel, Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award–winning author Louise Erdrich creates a wickedly funny ghost story, a tale of passion, of a complex marriage, and of a woman's relentless error.

Louise Erdrich's latest novel, The Sentence, asks what we owe to the living, the dead, to the reader, and to the book. A small independent bookstore in Minneapolis is haunted from November 2019 to November 2020 by the store's most annoying customer. Flora dies on All Soul's Day, but she simply won't leave the store. Tookie, who has landed a job selling books after years of incarceration that she survived by reading “with murderous attention,” must solve the mystery of this haunting while at the same time trying to understand all that occurs in Minneapolis during a year of grief, astonishment, isolation, and furious reckoning.

The Sentence begins on All Soul’s Day 2019 and ends on All Soul’s Day 2020. Its mystery and proliferating ghost stories during this one year propel a narrative as rich, emotional, and profound as anything Louise Erdrich has written.

“Totally Biased List of Tookie’s Favorite Books.”

 

POTENTIALLY SENSITIVE AREAS
Language: Strong Language , Sexual Content: Strong Sexual Content/Themes , Crime: Drug Trafficking/Dealing , Discrimination: Racial Insensitivity/Racism

Details

Format

Print

Page Count

400

Trim Size

9" x 6"

Dewey

F

AR

0: points 0

Genre

Fic

Scholastic Reading Counts

0

JLG Release

Apr 2022

Book Genres

Ghost Story

Topics

Booksellers and bookselling. Bookstores. Ghosts. Haunting. Native Americans. Mystery and investigation. Minneapolis, Minnesota. COVID-19 Pandemic, 2020.

 


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Praise & Reviews

Library Journal

Erdrich’s (The Night Watchman) latest is something of a small divergence for the prolific author, both a gauzy ghost story and an entry in the emerging subgenre of pandemic literature. More specifically, it concerns hauntings: by our past (and sometimes even our present), by specters of our mortality, by the legacy of colonialism, by the ever-present violence of American society. Tookie, Erdrich’s latest memorable, hardscrabble protagonist, is a previously incarcerated woman who now works at a Minneapolis bookstore and who finds herself visited by the lingering spirit of her most difficult customer. This initial plot thread soon gives way to the twinned surrealities of COVID-19’s global stranglehold and the cultural reckoning that follows George Floyd’s death: as one character puts it, “What we’re living through is either unreal or too real. I can’t decide.” But while the narrative would at first seem to progress as if these elements were each a distinct narrative movement, Erdrich masterfully reveals an act of layering; Tookie’s story feels vertically stacked rather than linearly advanced, each beat informing and complicating and enriching the others. Thankfully, the novel’s charged material is never presented from a soapbox, and what ultimately resonates most is its pronounced celebratory spirit, particularly for bibliophiles. VERDICT A true book lover’s book, about the power of literature, about retaining hope through enduring personal and cultural tragedy, and about our capacity for betterment.—Luke Gorham, Galesburg P.L., IL

The Horn Book

Erdrich's (The Night Watchman) latest is something of a small divergence for the prolific author, both a gauzy ghost story and an entry in the emerging subgenre of pandemic literature. More specifically, it concerns hauntings: by our past (and sometimes even our present), by specters of our mortality, by the legacy of colonialism, by the ever-present violence of American society. Tookie, Erdrich's latest memorable, hardscrabble protagonist, is a previously incarcerated woman who now works at a Minneapolis bookstore and who finds herself visited by the lingering spirit of her most difficult customer. This initial plot thread soon gives way to the twinned surrealities of COVID-19's global stranglehold and the cultural reckoning that follows George Floyd's death: as one character puts it, "What we're living through is either unreal or too real. I can't decide." But while the narrative would at first seem to progress as if these elements were each a distinct narrative movement, Erdrich masterfully reveals an act of layering; Tookie's story feels vertically stacked rather than linearly advanced, each beat informing and complicating and enriching the others. Thankfully, the novel's charged material is never presented from a soapbox, and what ultimately resonates most is its pronounced celebratory spirit, particularly for bibliophiles. VERDICT A true book lover's book, about the power of literature, about retaining hope through enduring personal and cultural tragedy, and about our capacity for betterment.-Luke Gorham, Galesburg P.L., IL

Praise & Reviews

Library Journal

Erdrich’s (The Night Watchman) latest is something of a small divergence for the prolific author, both a gauzy ghost story and an entry in the emerging subgenre of pandemic literature. More specifically, it concerns hauntings: by our past (and sometimes even our present), by specters of our mortality, by the legacy of colonialism, by the ever-present violence of American society. Tookie, Erdrich’s latest memorable, hardscrabble protagonist, is a previously incarcerated woman who now works at a Minneapolis bookstore and who finds herself visited by the lingering spirit of her most difficult customer. This initial plot thread soon gives way to the twinned surrealities of COVID-19’s global stranglehold and the cultural reckoning that follows George Floyd’s death: as one character puts it, “What we’re living through is either unreal or too real. I can’t decide.” But while the narrative would at first seem to progress as if these elements were each a distinct narrative movement, Erdrich masterfully reveals an act of layering; Tookie’s story feels vertically stacked rather than linearly advanced, each beat informing and complicating and enriching the others. Thankfully, the novel’s charged material is never presented from a soapbox, and what ultimately resonates most is its pronounced celebratory spirit, particularly for bibliophiles. VERDICT A true book lover’s book, about the power of literature, about retaining hope through enduring personal and cultural tragedy, and about our capacity for betterment.—Luke Gorham, Galesburg P.L., IL

The Horn Book

Erdrich's (The Night Watchman) latest is something of a small divergence for the prolific author, both a gauzy ghost story and an entry in the emerging subgenre of pandemic literature. More specifically, it concerns hauntings: by our past (and sometimes even our present), by specters of our mortality, by the legacy of colonialism, by the ever-present violence of American society. Tookie, Erdrich's latest memorable, hardscrabble protagonist, is a previously incarcerated woman who now works at a Minneapolis bookstore and who finds herself visited by the lingering spirit of her most difficult customer. This initial plot thread soon gives way to the twinned surrealities of COVID-19's global stranglehold and the cultural reckoning that follows George Floyd's death: as one character puts it, "What we're living through is either unreal or too real. I can't decide." But while the narrative would at first seem to progress as if these elements were each a distinct narrative movement, Erdrich masterfully reveals an act of layering; Tookie's story feels vertically stacked rather than linearly advanced, each beat informing and complicating and enriching the others. Thankfully, the novel's charged material is never presented from a soapbox, and what ultimately resonates most is its pronounced celebratory spirit, particularly for bibliophiles. VERDICT A true book lover's book, about the power of literature, about retaining hope through enduring personal and cultural tragedy, and about our capacity for betterment.-Luke Gorham, Galesburg P.L., IL

Grades 11 & Up
Adult Crossover High Plus
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For the more advanced high school reader who is ready for adult reading, our ACH Category is a great choice. With more sophisticated and challenging themes, the 12 books in ACH open up new worlds for teen readers.
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