Fiction. Literature. HTML: "Romantic love, religious ecstasy, the strange mixture of devotion and misunderstanding that runs through families‚??all are steeped together. The result is a rich and fragrant infusion. . . . [Written] with great poignancy and charm." ‚?? New York Times Book Review A darkly humorous novel of wild romance and heartbreak set against a raging North Dakota blizzard as five Native American women bond over their shared connection to one man, from award-winning and New York Times bestselling author Louise Erdrich Five very different women have married Jack Mauser, a charming, infuriating schemer whose passions never survive the long haul. Now, stranded in a North Dakota blizzard, they have come face-to-face‚??and each has an astonishing story to tell. Huddling for warmth, they pass the endless night by remembering the stories of how each came to love, marry, and ultimately move beyond Jack. At times painful, at times heartbreaking, and oftentimes comic, their tales become the adhesive that holds them together‚??in their love for Jack and in their lives as women. With her characteristic powers of observation and luminescent prose, Louise Erdrich brings these women's unforgettable tales to life in a tour de force from one of the most formidable American writers at work
The first half of the book details events in Jack's life and the bare bones of each marriage. He started out working on his uncle's sunflower seed farm but eventually veered into construction, investing in a rather shady scheme to build a subdivision. He has had almost as much trouble with the law as with his wives. But the story really kicks off after his wives attend his funeral (even though there is no body) and they become stranded together, along with a hitchhiker, in a car in the middle of a dangerous North Dakota snow storm. We've heard Jack's side of the story; now we are about to hear theirs. And despite many disappointments, each woman still loves Jack in her own way.
There's a lot more to the story (or "tales," as the title calls them), but I'll leave all the details and resolutions for you to discover. As usual, Erdrich's characters are all Native Americans, and a few that are familiar in earlier books reappear. Overall, I enjoyed the novel, which at times was sad but more often very funny. My only criticism is that it seemed unnecessarily long, and my attention often wandered. But I'm glad I didn't give up on Tales of Burning Love.