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The Master Butchers Singing Club

by Louise Erdrich

The Master Butchers Singing Club by Louise Erdrich X
The Master Butchers Singing Club by Louise Erdrich
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  • First Published:
    Feb 2003, 400 pages
    Jan 2004, 416 pages

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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 down, but he seemed unreal to me.
erdrich generally writes beautifully and that is also the case here.
i felt that the idea that step-and-a-half was her "mother"- (close enough anyway) was predictable from early in the story.
some of the sub plots were well woven and enticing, but then seemed to taper off into nothing. i wanted to know more of the circumstances of delphine's birth/abandonment, her and mazarine's mother, the actual return and unfolding of the solo twin/pow, franz's health, mazarine's baby, etc. i love an author who is brave enough to leave some open ends, but i felt that there were far too many here.

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 Singing Club, but that part was so minor in the book. I did like parts of the book such as many of the characters and the setting, but I disliked others -- actually had nightmares about a story about the cellar. It was one of those books that took a long time to get through some of the story, but the ending was too fast and incomplete.

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 is also a little long winded, and even borders on the mundane from time to time. There are however, some beautiful parts especially in the relationships between Fidelis and Delphine, and Franz and Mazarine. My final verdict? Close, but no banana.
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