"Dazzling. . . . A hard-won love letter to readers and to booksellers, as well as a compelling story about how we cope with pain and fear, injustice and illness. One good way is to press a beloved book into another's hands. Read The Sentence and then do just that."—USA Today, Four Stars
In this New York Times bestselling novel, Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award–winning author Louise Erdrich creates a wickedly funny ghost story, a tale of passion, of a complex marriage, and of a woman's relentless errors.
Louise Erdrich's latest novel, The Sentence, asks what we owe to the living, the dead, to the reader and to the book. A small independent bookstore in Minneapolis is haunted from November 2019 to November 2020 by the store's most annoying customer. Flora dies on All Souls' Day, but she simply won't leave the store. Tookie, who has landed a job selling books after years of incarceration that she survived by reading "with murderous attention," must solve the mystery of this haunting while at the same time trying to understand all that occurs in Minneapolis during a year of grief, astonishment, isolation, and furious reckoning.
The Sentence begins on All Souls' Day 2019 and ends on All Souls' Day 2020. Its mystery and proliferating ghost stories during this one year propel a narrative as rich, emotional, and profound as anything Louise Erdrich has written.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Pulitzer Prize winner Louise Erdrich’s potent 18th novel is a ghost story, a diary of 2020, and a passionate love letter to books and bookstores. When Tookie is unfairly sentenced to prison, she uses her time inside to fall further under the spell of literature. Later, she joins the staff at a local bookstore and witnesses the grim emergence of COVID-19, followed by the explosive civil rights protests after the murder of George Floyd. Tookie is also targeted by a particularly aggressive spirit who wants to possess her—and claim her Indigenous roots for herself. Unsettling and surprising, The Sentence mines the heartbreak of Black and Indigenous legacies in America with Erdrich’s signature lyricism. This is a uniquely powerful chronicle of an unforgettable year.
Pulitzer winner Erdrich (The Night Watchman) returns with a scintillating story about a motley group of Native American booksellers haunted by the spirit of a customer. In 2019 Minneapolis, Tookie, a formerly incarcerated woman, is visited at a bookstore by the ghost of Flora, a white woman with a problematic past. Despite being a dedicated ally of myriad Native causes, Flora fabricated a family lineage linking her to various Indigenous groups including Dakota and Ojibwe. Many of the story's characters reckon with both personal and ancestral hauntings: Tookie with a childhood of neglect and her time in prison for unknowingly trafficking drugs; her husband, Pollux, a former tribal police officer, confronts his past experiences of using force after the murder of George Floyd; and Asema, a college student of Ojibwe and Sisseton Dakota descent, pieces together an ominous historical manuscript depicting the abduction of a 19th-century Ojibwe-Cree woman, which Flora's daughter brought to the store. As the Covid-19 pandemic takes hold and the store pivots to mail orders, several of the characters join the protests against police brutality. More than a gripping ghost story, this offers profound insights into the effects of the global pandemic and the collateral damage of systemic racism. It adds up to one of Erdrich's most sprawling and illuminating works to date. Agent: Andrew Wylie, The Wylie Agency. This review has been updated to reflect the final version of the book.
I found the book a little slow at first but it weaves a majestic tale that draws you in.
A unique perspective into the pandemic and life in Minneapolis after George Floyd.
The Sentence, Louise Erdrich
An amazing read covering the present and centering the past giving us lots of wisdom to take with us into the future!
This book blends cultures and cosmoses artfully yet with a certain innocence. I’ll read it again to get all of the nuance I may have missed!