Megan Harlan
May 17, 1996 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Tales of Burning Love

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Louise Erdrich
genre
Fiction

We gave it an A-

On the drive home from the funeral of irresistible scoundrel Jack Mauser, his current wife and three ex-wives are marooned by a dangerous snowstorm and spend the night confessing their volatile histories with Jack to stay awake — and alive. In Tales of Burning Love, her potent, erotic, and richly populated fifth novel — set once again within the Native American culture of North Dakota — Louise Erdrich (Love Medicine) not only seamlessly interweaves these tales but maintains the dramatic tension in each narrative thread. In place of the resonant mystical atmosphere of some previous novels, Erdrich has fed this plot with melodrama and coincidence (though the women don’t know that Jack is alive, the reader does, and his concurrent tale of escape and hidden identity grows increasingly dubious). But Erdrich is master of the heightened, intimate moment, and in subtler scenes she palpably etches the impress of love on her characters. A-

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