The Master Butchers Singing Club: Summary and book reviews of The Master Butchers Singing Club by Louise Erdrich, plus links to an excerpt from The Master Butchers Singing Club and a biography of Louise Erdrich.
The Master Butchers Singing Club
by Louise Erdrich
Hardcover: Feb 2003,
Paperback: Jan 2004,
What happens when a trained killer discovers that his true vocation is love? Having survived the killing fields of World War I, Fidelis Waldvogel returns home to his quiet German village and marries the pregnant widow of his best friend who was killed in action.
With a suitcase full of sausages and a master butcher's precious set of knives, Fidelis sets out for America, getting as far as North Dakota, where he builds a business, a home for his family -- which includes Eva and four sons -- and a singing club consisting of the best voices in town.
When the Old World meets the New -- in the person of Delphine Watzka -- the great adventure of Fidelis's life begins. Delphine meets Eva and is enchanted; she meets Fidelis, and the ground trembles. These momentous encounters will determine the course of Delphine's life -- and the trajectory of this brilliant new novel by Louise Erdrich
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Erdrich's new novel is a master work.
[C]an surely be cast as the most wrenching and wise of Erdrich's nine novels.
San Francisco Chronicle
Each moment and its particulars dazzles … Fidelis and firm-bellied Delphine and the rest [of the characters] are masterworks.
USA Today - Bob Minzesheimer
Not since Richard Russo’s 2001 novel Empire Falls... have I enjoyed the company of such memorable characters.
Appropriately grim and thoughtful, The Master Butchers Singing Club is also full of tenderness and life … Marvelous.
A substantial, beautifully composed, confident work of art … both expansive in its reach and intimate in its intense focus.
Grand and generous fiction… Erdrich's most sweeping and ambitious yet.
[A] masterpiece… Erdrich never hits a false note.
Library Journal - Starr E. Smith
Drawing on her German and Ojibwe heritage, Erdrich here offers another stimulating exploration into the human heart that will appeal to old fans and new readers alike. It's not exactly a breakaway, but more of the same from such a good writer is just fine.
The New York Times - Michiko Katutani
The novel is more naturalistic and more conventional that the author's earlier Argus stories -- fewer excursions into magical realism, fewer flights of fancy -- but every bit as emotionally resonant. Through the prism of one family's tangled history, Ms. Erdrich gives us an indelible glimpse of the American dream and the disappointments that can gather in its wake.
The tensions between stoical endurance and the frailty of human connection, as delineated in Erdrich's almost unimaginably rich eighth novel a panoramic exploration of a world where butchers sing like angels. ... There are echoes of Steinbeck's East of Eden as well, in a thoughtful, artful, painfully moving addition to an ongoing American saga.
All of the virtues of Erdrich's best works - her lyrical precision, bleakly beautiful North Dakota settings, deft interweaving of characters and subplots, and haunting evocation of love and its attendant mysteries-are on full display in this superb novel....With its lush prose, jolts of wisdom and historical sweep, this story is as rich and resonant as any Erdrich has told.
Booklist - Joanne Wilkinson
In mesmerizing prose, Erdrich meticulously re-creates the brutal work of the slaughterhouse and the lithe grace of the circus troupe and then counterpoints this physical world with transcendent moments of human connection. It's clear that Erdrich, one of our finest writers, is working at the very peak of her considerable powers.
Recent Reader Reviews
Rated of 5
by Lynn Just Average Book The good news is that Louise Erdrich is an excellent storyteller and you will see parts of that throughout the book. There wasn't enough of the story written from Fidelis' point of view. Maybe, it was my fault, but I though this would be about a... Read More
Rated of 5
love, love, love erdrich. however, i felt that this, her latest novel, was somewhat lacking. delphine is a beautifully developed character, but i felt that the majority of the other characters were thin. i understand that franz was stoic and shut... Read More
Rated of 5
This book is a lesson in the mediocrity of potential. There is incredible potential in this story, that, sadly, never gets fulfilled. There are excellent characters, and Erdrich clearly has a talent for prose, but the story needs some closure. It... Read More
A miracle of storytelling, bursting with heartache and hilarity and inhabited
by characters as outsized as the landscape of the American West.
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