Synopses & Reviews
Having survived World War I, Fidelis Waldvogel returns to his quiet German village and marries the pregnant widow of his best friend, killed in action. With a suitcase full of sausages and a master butcher's precious knife set, Fidelis sets out for America. In Argus, North Dakota, 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 novel.
"A substantial, beautifully composed, confident work of art...both expansive in its reach and intimate in its intense focus." O: The Oprah Magazine
"[A]lmost unimaginably rich....Delphine is a great character....And she's the moral center of a sprawling anecdotal story crammed with unexpected twists and vivid secondary characters...crowned by a stunningly revelatory surprise ending....[A] thoughtful, artful, painfully moving addition to an ongoing American saga." Kirkus Reviews
"But whatever doubts the reader might have are swiftly erased by Ms. Erdrich's sheer authority as a storyteller: her instinctive sympathy for her characters, her energetic inventiveness, her effortless ability to connect public and private concerns." Michiko Kakutani, New York Times Book Review
"[E]motionally powerful, richly detailed....Erdrich gives us one of her finest characters in the radiant Delphine...while also creating a host of truly remarkable secondary characters....It's clear that Erdrich, one of our finest writers, is working at the very peak of her considerable powers." Joanne Wilkinson, Booklist
"The novel is more naturalistic and more conventional than the author's earlier Argus stories fewer excursions into magical realism, fewer flights of fantasy 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....As in so many of Ms. Erdrich's novels, a plethora of melodramatic events quickly befall the characters in this story....In summary, these developments may seem contrived, and some are left dangling curiously at the end. But whatever doubts the reader might have are swiftly erased by Ms. Erdrich's sheer authority as a storyteller: her instinctive sympathy for her characters, her energetic inventiveness, her effortless ability to connect public and private concerns." Michiko Katutani, The New York Times
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.
About the Author
Louise Erdrich is the author of eight novels, including the National Book Critics Circle Award-winning Love Medicine and the National Book Award finalist The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse, as well as poetry, children's books, and a memoir. She lives in Minnesota.