Book Review: Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse by Louise Erdrich

I really struggled with The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse: both reading it a writing about it. I kept waiting for there to be more. After all the book was a National Book Award Finalist and Erdrich is a highly regarded author. I love the premise. A woman lives most of her life pretending to be a Catholic priest among the Objiwe Indians. The book begins as "Father" Damien writes to the Pope to tell what she has done and to discuss the possible canonization of Sister Leopolda. Damien knows her to be a violent murderous but has been reluctant to expose her because she knows that he, Father Damien, is really she, Agnes Agnes DeWitt.

Possible outcomes from such a scenario abound. Unfortunately Erdrich hasn't seemed to be able to find any of them. Instead of the angst one hopes for from the story of an ersatz priests who has lived a lie, there is very little introspection. Instead there is a good deal of description of who happens, but the reader never learns why. The action and description, although at times well written, provides a poor substitute for the mental anguish one would expect of Damien/DeWitt.

Prior to The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse my only experience with Louise Erdrich is the short story "Red Convertible," the often anthologized short story read in high school and undergraduate lit classes. It too suffers from the syndrome of promise of much in the premise he did. Little Motivation. This book is one of several by Erdrich dealing with this imaginary Objiwe reservation. Perhaps taken together the effect is better. On its own I give this book a B- or 82%. The book is currently available both in trade paperback and as an audiobook.


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