Four Souls : [a novel]

by Louise Erdrich

Hardcover, 2004




New York : HarperCollins Publishers, c2004.


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.    

User reviews

LibraryThing member janeajones
This is Fleur's story as told by Nanapush, her adoptive father, and Polly Elizabeth, the sister of her Anglo husband's ex-wife. Fleur may be the most enigmatic of Erdrich's characters -- the "witch" of the Ashinabaage -- the Morgan le Fay of Erdrich's North Dakota tribe. I am fascinated by Fleur -- her passion, her connection to the land, her neglect for human relationships. She is, at once, in modern parlance, a sociopath, and in ancient practice, a shaman. She may be Erdrlich's most enduring creation.… (more)
LibraryThing member mbergman
Another in the series of novels Erdrich has focused on the people of the Ojibwe reservation, told, as always, from serveral perspectives, with wit & sensitivity to tradition & suffering. And, as always, there a passages of great beauty & insight, as in the book's very last paragraph
LibraryThing member Niecierpek
Erdrich is a masterful storyteller. We are at the north Wisconsin reservation, sometime after WWI. We are following the story of the lives of some Native and some immigrant characters. Fluer (the Four Souls) is after her land, but she is both the nemesis of the white man who stole her land, and whom she came to kill, and his slave- she succumbs to him. There is also Margaret and Nanapush- a delightful pair living on the reservation, and a great story of the four of them.… (more)
LibraryThing member readingrat
I enjoyed revisiting some of the characters from Little No Horse.
LibraryThing member teharhynn
This bookI read for my native American Literature class, but it was very interesting, so I thought to include it should anyone else what to read it. It was very good, humorous in some places and sad in others. I think it’s a good easy read if anyone is looking for something… different.
LibraryThing member MaryriverMcLeod
My favorite author - I love all her novels and the characters she brings to my world. She shows us, if we have eyes to see, the quantum universe that Native American (and other indiginous peoples) have always lived in. It is a wonderful place.
LibraryThing member Pmaurer
Powerful tale of revenge. Told thro multiple points of view, with Fleur being the central character. Provides ingsight into the Obijewa culture, mainly by including the relationship between two older Indians still on reservation. Lot of ways the story could be interpreted.
LibraryThing member LibroLindsay
Holy cow--I just counted up and found this is the 13th book of Louise Erdrich's I've read. Lucky 13, eh? I will say that the pacing was kind of clunky and it wasn't as seamlessly nuanced as some of her other books, but I also kind of didn't care. This still got me smiling and laughing and holding my breath in parts. This is Fleur's story--or more of it--but it's easy to lose sight of it. Nanapush and Margaret still reign supreme, and in a way, their moments felt like a little extension from The Last Report..., which I absolutely welcomed. That end, though. *low whistle*… (more)
LibraryThing member LyndaInOregon
After a slow start, Erdrich rewards the patient reader with a rich and wonderful tale reminding us that evil can never be redeemed by more evil.

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.
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LibraryThing member Stahl-Ricco
“She threw out one soul and it came back hungry.”

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!
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LibraryThing member rynk
If we're living in a moment about power and privilege, here's one way to move the discussion forward. It's a tale about am Ojibwe woman's plan for revenge on the lumber baron who took her land. Once embedded in his home, he becomes not her victim but her possession, and possessions prove to be tricky things. The main narrators are a spinster in the household who turns from greed to generosity, and a tribal elder who makes himself the butt of a comic subplot about rage in relationships. It's complicated, in other words, and beautifully told.
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LibraryThing member christinejoseph
@ Indian seeking revenge for land — intertwined with many stories + twists

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.… (more)
LibraryThing member DrFuriosa
This is another novel about Fleur Pillager, but this time told in her time living amongst white folx and how her son came to be. Nanapush makes an appearance, as well, as does another woman whose story arc takes a surprising and moving turn. Worth the read if you've invested in this sequence of books.



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