Summary and book reviews of The Last Report On The Miracles At Little No Horse by Louise Erdrich

The Last Report On The Miracles At Little No Horse

By Louise Erdrich

The Last Report On The Miracles At Little No Horse
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • Hardcover: Mar 2001,
    368 pages.
    Paperback: Apr 2002,
    368 pages.

    Publication Information

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Book Summary

For more than a half century, Father Damien Modeste has served his beloved people, the Ojibwe, on the remote reservation of Little No Horse. Compelled to his task by a direct mystical experience, Father Damien has made enormous sacrifices, and experienced the joys of commitment as well as deep suffering. Now, nearing the end of his life, Father Damien dreads the discovery of his physical identity, for he is a woman who has lived as a man. He imagines the undoing of all that he has accomplished -- sees unions unsundered, baptisms nullified, those who confessed to him once again unforgiven. To complicate his fears, his quiet life changes when a troubled colleague comes to the reservation to investigate the life of the perplexing, difficult, possibly false saint Sister Leopolda. Father Damien alone knows the strange truth of Sister Leopolda's piety, but these facts are bound up in his own secret. In relating his history and that of Leopolda, whose wonder working is documented but inspired, he believes, by a capacity for evil rather than the love of good, Father Damien is forced to choose: Should he reveal all he knows and risk everything? Or should he manufacture a protective history? In spinning out the tale of his life, Father Damien in fact does both. His story encompasses his life as a young woman, her passions, and the pestilence, tribal hatreds, and sorrows passed from generation to generation of Ojibwe. From the fantastic truth of Father Damien's origin as a woman to the hilarious account of the absurd demise of Nanapush, his best friend on the reservation, his story ranges over the span of the century.

In a masterwork that both deepens and enlarges the world of her previous novels set on the same reservation, Louise Erdrich captures the essence of a time and the spirit of a woman who felt compelled by her beliefs to serve her people as a priest. The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse is a work of an avid heart, a writer's writer, and a storytelling genius.

Chapter One
Naked Woman Playing Chopin
1910-1912

Eighty-some years previous, through a town that was to flourish and past a farm that would disappear, the river slid -- all that happened began with that flow of water. The town on its banks was very new and its main street was a long curved road that followed the will of a muddy river full of brush, silt, and oxbows that threw the whole town off the strict clean grid laid out by railroad plat. The river flooded each spring and dragged local backyards into its roil, even though the banks were strengthened with riprap and piled high with rocks torn from reconstructed walls and foundations. It was a hopelessly complicated river, one that froze deceptively, broke rough, drowned one or two every year in its icy run. it was a dead river in some places, one that harbored only carp and bullheads. Wild in others, it lured moose down from Canada into the town limits. When the land along its banks was newly broken, paddleboats and barges of ...

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!
Introduction
Beginning with her National Book Critics Circle Award-winning first novel Love Medicine, Louise Erdrich has spent nearly two decades carving her own fictional landscape from both the rough and mystical details of life on and around a North Dakota Indian reservation. In her masterful new novel, The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse, Erdrich weaves a tale that spans nearly a century, the strange and compelling story of Father Damien Modeste, a beloved reservation priest who has hidden his true identity as a woman beneath his cassock.

When the novel begins in 1996, movement is afoot to consider Sister Leopolda, the former Pauline Puyat, for canonization because of purported miracles associated with her. But ...
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Reviews

Media Reviews
Los Angeles Times

Messy, ribald, deeply tragic, preposterous and heartfelt, The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse is a love story, and what shines most brilliantly through its pages are Erdrich's intelligence and compassion. Let the world shake, buckle, storm and burn. Let the people suffer, as they will. It is our connections to the past and the future, through families and connections to kin, that grant us our saintliness and our transcendent power.

Los Angeles Times

Messy, ribald, deeply tragic, preposterous and heartfelt, The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse is a love story, and what shines most brilliantly through its pages are Erdrich's intelligence and compassion. Let the world shake, buckle, storm and burn. Let the people suffer, as they will. It is our connections to the past and the future, through families and connections to kin, that grant us our saintliness and our transcendent power.

Elle

Spellbinding….While displaying the lyrical grace of Love Medicine, her first and best novel, The Last Report is angrier, more ambitious, full of 'madness, the stars, sin, and death.' But what surpassing pleasures spring from its wild, dark vision.

New York Times Book Review

[B]eguiling . . . Erdrich takes us farther back in time than she ever has, so far back that she comes, in a sense, to the edge of the reservation that has been her fictional world.

New York Times Book Review

[B]eguiling . . . Erdrich takes us farther back in time than she ever has, so far back that she comes, in a sense, to the edge of the reservation that has been her fictional world.

Library Journal

The investigation of art as mainstay and revelation is particularly sharp, and one hopes Erdrich will pursue this line of thought in her next work. Highly recommended.

Reader Reviews
ron sterzinger

Father Damien pray for us
Louise's character Father Damien is probably one of the greatest characters to emerge on the pages of literature since little Oskar Manzerath in Gunter Grass's book the Tin Drum.

Mary Saputo

This totally delightful book has made me sit back and reflect upon the worthiness of my own life. (not nearly over yet) It weaves a tale of a lifetimes. One could not understand the end without the beginning or the middle. So many lifes woven ...   Read More

Kerry Schindler

As a beginning reader, I thought this book was very captivating and interesting.

Lewis Koch

What a superb book, continuing the fine web Erdrich has woven of intertwined lives and families in her previous novels. She makes language sing, and though the song is not always pretty, it is always soulful and wise.

Write your own review!

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Readalikes

Readalikes Full readalike results are for members only

If you liked The Last Report On The Miracles At Little No Horse, try these:

  • Far Bright Star jacket

    Far Bright Star

    by Robert Olmstead

    Published Feb 2013

    More about this book

    Read Reviews

    Napoleon Childs, an aging cavalryman, leads an expedition of inexperienced soldiers into the mountains of Mexico to hunt down Pancho Villa. But things go terribly wrong; his troop is brutally attacked, and Napoleon, left by his captors to die in the desert, reflects on his past as he struggles to survive.

  • Middlesex jacket

    Middlesex

    by Jeffrey Eugenides

    Published Feb 2013

    More about this book

    Read Reviews

    To understand why Calliope is not like other girls, she has to uncover a guilty family secret, and the astonishing genetic history that turns Callie into Cal. Lyrical and thrilling, Middlesex is an exhilarating reinvention of the American epic.

Non-members are limited to two results. Become a member


Search Readalikes again
How we choose readalikes
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!
Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    •  
    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    •  
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    •  
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    •  
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    •  
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    •  
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
    •  
Sign up, win books!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket
    Mrs. Hemingway
    by Naomi Wood
    Naomi Wood's latest novel, Mrs. Hemingway, is a fictionalized biography covering in turn writer...
  • Book Jacket
    The Stranger on the Train
    by Abbie Taylor
    The opening chapter of Abbie Taylor's debut novel, The Stranger on the Train, took me right back to ...
  • Book Jacket
    Night Film
    by Marisha Pessl
    One of the central tenets of Hinduism states that the world as we know it is just an illusion –...

First Impressions

Members read and review books ahead
of publication. See what they think
in First Impressions!

Books that
expand your
horizons.

Visitors can view a lot of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only

Find out more.

Book Discussions
Book Jacket

The City
by Dean Koontz

Published Jul. 2014

Join the discussion!

  1.  80Tomlinson Hill:
    Chris Tomlinson

All Discussions

Win this book!
Win The Angel of Losses

The Angel of Losses

"Family saga, mystery, and myth intersect in Feldman's debut novel." - Booklist

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

E C H A Silver L

and be entered to win..

Books thatinspire you.Handpicked.

Books you'll stay up all night reading; books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, books that will expand your mind and inspire you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.