monique

Woolgathering
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2004-07-19 16:40:12 (UTC)

Four Souls

I'm enjoying Four Souls by Louise Erdrich very much and am
sorry it is so short a book. I'm within twenty pages of the
end and I keep stopping to go do something and then
returning it to to prolong it.

I found this on page 176:

To sew is to pray. Men don't understand this. They see the
whole but they don't see the stitches. They don't see the
speech of the creator in the work of the needle. We mend. We
women turn things inside out and set things right. We
salvage what we can of human garments and piece the rest
into blankets. Sometimes our stitches stutter and slow. Only
a woman's eye can tell. Other times, the tension in the
stitches might be too tight because of tears, but only we
know what emotion went into the making. Only women can hear
the prayer.

The book's chapters are from the viewpoints of several
different characters much like Thomas Wolfe's As I Lay Dying
and the comical chapters with Nanapush bring to mind Bottom
in A Midsummer's Night Dream. Fleur, the main character, is
not meant to be a sympathetic character but she comes across
as one anyway. At least, to me she does. Here is how Polly
Elizabeth describes her at the beginning of the book--

I see the negative of her as she stooped to her dark bundle,
the image of a question mark set on a page, alone. Or like a
keyhole, you could say, sunk into a door locked and painted
shut, the deep black figure layered in shawls was more an
absence, a slot for a coin, an invitation for the curious,
than a woman come to plead for menial work.

And I liked how Nanapush described the end of the day with
the blue coming out of the bushes and the darkness coming
out of the earth.

Well, it's not a book for everyone but I suspect when I
finish it I'll turn back to the first page and start again
but this time I'll write down all the images and
descriptions I especially liked so I can keep them.


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