Master Butchers Singing Club (Erdrich)

Book Reviews
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.
Michiko Kakutani - The New York Times


Poignant in the mysteries it evokes and patient with the questions it leaves unanswered, The Master Butchers Singing Club is a resonant work in which songs—yes, songs, for early on Fidelis forms among the men of Argus the book's eponymous singing club—become a bridge, a benediction, to the other side. "How close the dead are," Step-and-a-Half reflects. "One song away from the living." It is a sentiment that haunts these pages.
Thomas Curwen - The Los Angeles Times

 

[With its] numerous subplots...one senses that Erdrich is working very hard to tie up so many loose ends, to somehow jolt her readers with surprising revelations.... [S]ubplots also interfere with the emotional development of the story.... Erdrich is a genuinely talented writer; she has changed the landscape of fiction forever. This novel, however, sometimes sags beneath its own weight, making this reader long for sunnier days in Argus.
Book Magazine


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. 
Publishers Weekly


[R]ichly constructed and descriptive.... The novel starts slowly, but the author, reading her own work, eventually creates a full cast of major and minor characters who are charmingly flawed and ultimately unforgettable. Highly recommended. —Joyce Kessel, Villa Maria Coll., Buffalo, NY
Library Journal


The tensions between stoical endurance and the frailty of human connection, as delineated in Erdrich's almost unimaginably rich eighth novel.... [Erdrich has written] a sprawling anecdotal story crammed with unexpected twists and vivid secondary characters...crowned by a stunningly revelatory surprise ending.
Kirkus Reviews

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