From New York Times bestselling author Louise Erdrich comes a haunting novel that continues the rich and enthralling Ojibwe saga begun in her novel Tracks. After taking her mother's name, Four Souls, for strength, the strange and compelling Fleur Pillager walks from her Ojibwe reservation to the cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul. She is seeking restitution from and revenge on the lumber baron who has stripped her tribe's land. But revenge is never simple, and her intentions are complicated by her dangerous compassion for the man who wronged her.
Fleur Pillager travels to the 1920s era city of Minneapolis, seeking to retrieve the land swindled from her by a wealthy white man -- or to take his life in return. What appears to be a straighforward mission of revenge and retribution is twisted into something far more complex.
The multiple narrators reveal things bit by bit, bouncing between Fleur's life in the city and the lives of her extended family members still living on the reservation, including most notably old Nanapush, who is having his own struggles with keeping Margaret, the wife of his heart, out of the clutches of an old enemy and former brother-in-law.
Nanapush and Margaret's relationship, frankly, is much more interesting than Fleur's with James Mauser. The old man's battle with a pesky fly (who may be the shape-changed spirit of his rival for Margaret) is much reminiscent of parts of Erdrich's "Love Medicine", with its same sweet humor.
There's also a layer to the story dealing with language, with the power of names, and with the power of women to channel healing through their labors. Women, Erdrich says through Margaret, "turn things inside out and set them right." Including, eventually, Fleur.
This is the story of Fleur, also known as Four Souls. “She had come to kill and humiliate and take back her land…” . A tale of revenge. Revenge directed at a man named Mauser, who she heals “… in order to wreck him in good condition…” so she could “… take satisfaction in vengeance.”
I very much enjoyed Fleur's story, full of vengeance, sadness, and loss. The other story thread, about Nanapush, his wife, and her dress, was not as strong. Though when it entwined with Fleur's, it improved greatly! I just wish the book had been a bit longer!
Four Souls begins with Fleur Pillager's journey from North Dakota to Minneapolis, where she plans to avenge the loss of her family's land to a white man. After a dream vision that gives her a powerful new name, Four Souls, she enters the household of John James Mauser. A man notorious for his wealth and his mansion on a hill, Mauser became rich by deceiving young Indian women and taking possession of their ancestral lands. What promises to be a straightforward tale of revenge, however, slowly metamorphoses into a more complex evocation of human nature.